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Health insurance and child mortality in Costa Rica

Author

Listed:
  • Dow, William H.
  • Schmeer, Kammi K.

Abstract

This study uses a natural experiment approach to evaluate the effect of health insurance on infant and child mortality. In the 1970s Costa Rica adopted national health insurance, which expanded children's insurance coverage from 42 percent in 1973 to 73 percent by 1984. Aggregate infant and child mortality rates dropped rapidly during this period, but this trend had begun prior to the insurance expansion, and may be related to other changes during this period. We use county-level vital statistics and census data to isolate the causal insurance effect on mortality using county fixed effects models. We find that insurance increases are strongly related to mortality decreases at the county level before controlling for other time-varying factors. However, after controlling for changes in other correlated maternal, household, and community characteristics, fixed effects models indicate that the insurance expansion could have explained only a small portion of the mortality change. These results question the proposition that health insurance can lead to large improvements in infant and child mortality, and that expanding insurance to the poor can substantially narrow socioeconomic differentials in mortality.

Suggested Citation

  • Dow, William H. & Schmeer, Kammi K., 2003. "Health insurance and child mortality in Costa Rica," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(6), pages 975-986, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:57:y:2003:i:6:p:975-986
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:pubeco:v:150:y:2017:i:c:p:75-93 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Ensor, Tim & Ronoh, Jeptepkeny, 2005. "Effective financing of maternal health services: A review of the literature," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 49-58, December.
    3. Bernal Lobato, N., 2014. "Essays in applied microeconomics," Other publications TiSEM 9b638b3d-2f83-452a-b2c8-c, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    4. Acharya, Arnab & Vellakkal, Sukumar & Taylor Fiona & Masset Edoardo & Satija, Ambika & Burke, Margaret & Ebrahim, Shah, 2013. "The impact of health insurance schemes for the informal sector in low- and middle-income countries : a systematic review," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6324, The World Bank.
    5. Cesur, Resul & Güneş, Pınar Mine & Tekin, Erdal & Ulker, Aydogan, 2017. "The value of socialized medicine: The impact of universal primary healthcare provision on mortality rates in Turkey," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 75-93.
    6. Grant Miller & Diana Pinto & Marcos Vera-Hernández, 2013. "Risk Protection, Service Use, and Health Outcomes under Colombia's Health Insurance Program for the Poor," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 61-91, October.
    7. repec:eee:pubeco:v:154:y:2017:i:c:p:122-136 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Lisa Bagnoli, 2017. "Does National Health Insurance Improve Children's Health ?National and Regional Evidence from Ghana," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2017-03, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    9. Bernal, Noelia & Carpio, Miguel A. & Klein, Tobias J., 2017. "The effects of access to health insurance: Evidence from a regression discontinuity design in Peru," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 122-136.
    10. Rebecca L. Thornton & Laurel E. Hatt & Erica M. Field & Mursaleena Islam & Freddy Solís Diaz & Martha Azucena González, 2010. "Social security health insurance for the informal sector in Nicaragua: a randomized evaluation," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(S1), pages 181-206, September.
    11. Kondo, Ayako & Shigeoka, Hitoshi, 2013. "Effects of universal health insurance on health care utilization, and supply-side responses: Evidence from Japan," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 1-23.
    12. Bernal, Noelia & Carpio, Miguel A. & Klein, Tobias J., 2017. "The effects of access to health insurance: Evidence from a regression discontinuity design in Peru," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 122-136.

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