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Place or patient as the driver of regional variation in healthcare spending – Discrepancies by category of care

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  • Johansson, Naimi
  • Jakobsson, Niklas
  • Svensson, Mikael

Abstract

We study how much regional variation in healthcare spending is driven by place- and patient-specific factors using a random sample of 53,620 regional migrants in Sweden. We find notable differences depending on the category of care, with place-specific factors having a significantly larger impact on specialized outpatient care compared to inpatient and pharmaceutical care. The place effect is estimated to 75% of variation in specialized outpatient care, but 26% or less in variations in inpatient care, and 5% in prescription drug spending. We also find that the empirical estimator has a substantial impact on the estimates of the place-specific effect. The results based on the traditional approach in the literature with two-way fixed effects and event-study models produce much larger estimates of the place-specific effect compared to results based on recently developed heterogeneity-robust models. For total healthcare spending, the traditional two-way fixed effects model estimates a place effect of 78%, while the heterogeneity-robust estimator finds a place effect around 10%. This finding indicates that previous results in this literature, all based on traditional two-way fixed-effects regressions, should be interpreted with care.

Suggested Citation

  • Johansson, Naimi & Jakobsson, Niklas & Svensson, Mikael, 2024. "Place or patient as the driver of regional variation in healthcare spending – Discrepancies by category of care," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 342(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:342:y:2024:i:c:s0277953624000157
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2024.116571
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Healthcare spending; Regional variation; Movers; Event study; Two-way fixed effects;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets

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