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Government health expenditures and health outcomes


  • Farasat A. S. Bokhari

    (Department of Economics, Florida State University, USA)

  • Yunwei Gai

    (Department of Economics, Florida State University, USA)

  • Pablo Gottret

    (Health Systems Development Cluster, World Bank, Washington, DC, USA)


This paper provides econometric evidence linking a country's per capita government health expenditures and per capita income to two health outcomes: under-five mortality and maternal mortality. Using instrumental variables techniques (GMM-H2SL), we estimate the elasticity of these outcomes with respect to government health expenditures and income while treating both variables as endogenous. Consequently, our elasticity estimates are larger in magnitude than those reported in literature, which may be biased up. The elasticity of under-five mortality with respect to government expenditures ranges from −0.25 to −0.42 with a mean value of −0.33. For maternal mortality the elasticity ranges from −0.42 to −0.52 with a mean value of −0.50. For developing countries, our results imply that while economic growth is certainly an important contributor to health outcomes, government spending on health is just as important a factor. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Farasat A. S. Bokhari & Yunwei Gai & Pablo Gottret, 2007. "Government health expenditures and health outcomes," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(3), pages 257-273.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:16:y:2007:i:3:p:257-273 DOI: 10.1002/hec.1157

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gangadharan, Lata & Valenzuela, Ma. Rebecca, 2001. "Interrelationships between income, health and the environment: extending the Environmental Kuznets Curve hypothesis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 513-531, March.
    2. Hausman, Jerry, 2015. "Specification tests in econometrics," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 38(2), pages 112-134.
    3. Musgrove, P., 1996. "Public and Private Roles in Health," World Bank - Discussion Papers 339, World Bank.
    4. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
    5. Cragg, John G, 1983. "More Efficient Estimation in the Presence of Heteroscedasticity of Unknown Form," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(3), pages 751-763, May.
    6. Sudhir Anand & Martin Ravallion, 1993. "Human Development in Poor Countries: On the Role of Private Incomes and Public Services," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 133-150, Winter.
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