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A comparative study on the health care and medical service consumption of urban and rural households in China

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  • Xianbo Zhou
  • Fengping Tian

Abstract

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to present a nonparametric comparative study on the HCMS consumption of urban and rural households in China. Design/methodology/approach - This paper applies the panel data for China's thirty provinces in 1991-2007 as a sample and presents a local linear estimation to the nonparametric Working-Leser panel data models on the HCMS consumption of the rural and urban households in China. The nonparametric Hausman test is applied to test the random effects specification against the fixed effects. Findings - Both the parametric and nonparametric estimation of the Working-Leser panel data models give us a similar result: that the HCMS commodity is quite elastic in both the rural and urban China. Nonparametric estimate also shows that the urban-rural difference of the HCMS expenditure share in the total expenditure is mainly due to the large urban-rural difference of total expenditure. Under the same total expenditure, the HCMS is more elastic in the urban than in the rural regions. Practical implications - To decrease the urban-rural difference in the HCMS consumption, the government should enhance the income or total expenditure level of the rural households, especially in the impoverished and remote areas in China. Urbanization plays a critical role in access to health care and can help make substantial changes in rural health care in China. Originality/value - Compared to the parametric estimation, the nonparametric estimation gives us the added information that the expenditure elasticity of the HCMS consumption in China gradually declines as one moves up the per capita total expenditure distribution. The paper could make a contribution to the relatively thin literature on the Chinese medical and health consumption market.

Suggested Citation

  • Xianbo Zhou & Fengping Tian, 2011. "A comparative study on the health care and medical service consumption of urban and rural households in China," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 38(1), pages 17-29, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:jespps:v:38:y:2011:i:1:p:17-29
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    Keywords

    Health services; Urban regions; China;

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