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The effects of technology on the age distribution of health spending: a cross-country perspective

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  • Louise Sheiner
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    Abstract

    The conventional method used to project a country's future health care expenditures is to assume that relative health spending by age remains constant. This method has been criticized as being too pessimistic, on the one hand, because of continued improvements in the health status of older people, and as too optimistic, on the other, because of the effects of technological innovations on increasing health spending on the elderly relative to the nonelderly. This paper uses cross-country data to shed light on this question. I find that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the theoretical effects of technology on health spending are to decrease the concentration of health spending on the elderly. Empirically, I find that relative health spending by age has been quite stable over time. I also find that countries with the most technologically intensive health sectors spend relatively less on the oldest old compared to the younger old.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2004-14.

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    Date of creation: 2004
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2004-14

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    Related research

    Keywords: Medical care; Cost of ; Population;

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    1. David M. Cutler & Louise Sheiner, 1998. "Demographics and Medical Care Spending: Standard and Non-Standard Effects," NBER Working Papers 6866, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. David M. Cutler & Ellen Meara, 2001. "The Concentration of Medical Spending: An Update," NBER Chapters, in: Themes in the Economics of Aging, pages 217-240 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. David M. Cutler & Ellen Meara, 1997. "The Medical Costs of The Young and Old: A Forty Year Perspective," NBER Working Papers 6114, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Brockmann, Hilke, 2002. "Why is less money spent on health care for the elderly than for the rest of the population? Health care rationing in German hospitals," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 593-608, August.
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