Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers in Economics,
University of Bergen, Department of Economics

No 11/10: Waiting time and socioeconomic status - an individual–level analysis

Karin Monstad (), Lars Birger Engesæter () and Birgitte Espehaug ()
Additional contact information
Karin Monstad: University of Bergen, Postal: Institutt for økonomi, Fosswinckelsgt. 14, N-5007 Bergen, Norway
Lars Birger Engesæter: University of Bergen, Postal: Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, , Haukeland University Hospital, Universitetet i Bergen, Postboks 7800, 5020 Bergen, ,
Birgitte Espehaug: The Norwegian Arthroplasty Register, Postal: Department of Orthopedic Surgery , Haukeland University Hospital , Möllendalsbakken 11, N-5021 Bergen , Norway

Abstract: Waiting time is a rationing mechanism that is used in publicly funded healthcare systems. From an equity viewpoint, it is regarded as preferable to co-payments. However, long waits are an indication of poor quality of service. To our knowledge, this analysis is the first to benefit from individual-level data from administrative registers to investigate the distribution of waiting time with respect to socioeconomic status. Furthermore, it makes use of an extensive set of medical information that serves as indicators of patient need. Differences in waiting time by socioeconomic status are detected. For men there is a statistically highly significant negative association between income and waiting time. More educated women, i.e., having an education above compulsory schooling, experience lower waiting time than their fellow sisters with the lowest level of education.

Keywords: Health

JEL-codes: I10

22 pages, December 20, 2010

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