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The impact of universal health coverage on households’ consumption and savings in Thailand


  • Phatta Kirdruang
  • Paul Glewwe


This paper studies the impact of Thailand's Universal Health Coverage Scheme (UCS) on households' consumption and savings by using a synthetic panel data approach. Using difference-in-differences estimation, it finds that, in the short run, the UCS had little or no impact on either savings or consumption expenditures. In the long run, the UCS still had no effect on savings, but there is some evidence of an increase in consumption. These effects are generally consistent with economic theory. The provision of healthcare coverage at little or no cost to previously uninsured households has an income effect that will increase both savings and consumption and a risk reduction effect that will reduce precautionary savings and thus increase consumption. These two effects on savings are of opposite sign and appear to cancel each other out, while both effects on consumption are positive and so appear to increase consumption, at least in the long run.

Suggested Citation

  • Phatta Kirdruang & Paul Glewwe, 2018. "The impact of universal health coverage on households’ consumption and savings in Thailand," Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(1), pages 78-98, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rjapxx:v:23:y:2018:i:1:p:78-98
    DOI: 10.1080/13547860.2017.1359893

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    Cited by:

    1. Sameera Awawda & Mohammad Abu-Zaineh, 2019. "An Operationalizing Theoretical Framework for the Analysis of Universal Health Coverage Reforms: First Test on an Archetype Developing Economy," AMSE Working Papers 1904, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, France.
    2. Alzuabi, Raslan & Brown, Sarah & Gray, Daniel & Harris, Mark N. & Spencer, Christopher, 2019. "Household Saving, Health, and Healthcare Utilisation in Japan," CEI Working Paper Series 2018-17, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.

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