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Regional variation in health care utilization and mortality

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  • Godøy, Anna
  • Huitfeldt, Ingrid

Abstract

Geographic variation in health care utilization has raised concerns of possible inefficiencies in health care supply, as differences are often not reflected in health outcomes. Using comprehensive Norwegian microdata, we exploit cross-region migration to analyze regional variation in health care utilization. Our results indicate that place factors account for half of the difference in utilization between high and low utilization regions, while the rest reflects patient demand. We further document heterogeneous impacts of place across socioeconomic groups. Place factors account for 75% of the regional utilization difference for high school dropouts, and 40% for high school graduates; for patients with a college degree, the impact of place is negligible. We find no statistically significant association between the estimated place effects and overall mortality. However, we document a negative association between place effects and utilization-intensive causes of death such as cancer, suggesting high-supply regions may achieve modestly improved health outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Godøy, Anna & Huitfeldt, Ingrid, 2020. "Regional variation in health care utilization and mortality," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:71:y:2020:i:c:s0167629619303819
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2019.102254
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    2. Huitfeldt, Ingrid, 2021. "Hospital reimbursement and capacity constraints: Evidence from orthopedic surgeries," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 125(6), pages 732-738.
    3. Michael Berger & Thomas Czypionka, 2021. "Regional medical practice variation in high-cost healthcare services," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 22(6), pages 917-929, August.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health care supply; Health care demand; Health care spending; Regional variation; Health outcomes;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private

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