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The Great Equalizer: Health Care Access and Infant Mortality in Thailand

Author

Listed:
  • Jonathan Gruber
  • Nathaniel Hendren
  • Robert M. Townsend

Abstract

This paper analyzes Thailand's 2001 healthcare reform, "30 Baht." The program increased funding available to hospitals to care for the poor and reduced copays to 30 Baht (~$0.75). Our estimates suggest the supply-side funding of the program increased healthcare utilization, especially among the poor. Moreover, we find significant impacts on infant mortality. Prior to 30 Baht, poorer provinces had significantly higher infant mortality rates than richer provinces. After 30 Baht, this correlation evaporates to zero. The results suggest that increased access to healthcare among the poor can significantly reduce their infant mortality rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Gruber & Nathaniel Hendren & Robert M. Townsend, 2014. "The Great Equalizer: Health Care Access and Infant Mortality in Thailand," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 91-107, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:6:y:2014:i:1:p:91-107
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.6.1.91
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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