Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

HUI Working Papers,
HUI Research

No 98: Public Provision and Cross-Border Health Care

David Granlund () and Magnus Wikström
Additional contact information
David Granlund: HUI Research, Postal: SE-103 29 Stockholm, Sweden and Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden,
Magnus Wikström: Umeå University, Postal: SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden,

Abstract: We study how the optimal public provision of health care depends on whether or not individuals have an option to seek publicly financed treatment in other regions. We find that, relative to the first-best solution, the government has an incentive to over-provide health care to low-income individuals. When cross-border health care takes place, this incentive is solely explained by that over-provision facilitates redistribution. The reason why more health care facilitates redistribution is that high-ability individuals mimicking low-ability individuals benefit the least from health care when health and labor supply are complements. Without cross-border health care, higher demand for health care among high-income individuals also contributes to the over-provision given that high-income individuals do not work considerably less than low-income individuals and that the government cannot discriminate between the income groups by giving them different access to health care.

Keywords: health expenditure; income redistribution; patient mobility; public provision; waiting time.

JEL-codes: H42; H51; I11; I18

22 pages, October 11, 2013

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