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Waiting times and socioeconomic status among elderly Europeans: evidence from SHARE

  • Luigi Siciliani
  • Rossella Verzulli

    (Department of Economics, Business and Statistics, University of Milan, Milan, Italy)

Waiting times for specialist consultation and non-emergency surgery are often considered an equitable rationing mechanism in the public healthcare sector, because access to care is not based on socioeconomic status. This study tests empirically this claim using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). The sample includes nine European countries: Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. For specialist consultation, we find that individuals with high education experience a reduction in waiting times of 68% in Spain, 67% in Italy and 34% in France (compared with individuals with low education). Individuals with intermediate education report a waiting-time reduction of 74% in Greece (compared with individuals with low education). There is also evidence of a negative and significant association between education and waiting times for non-emergency surgery in Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden. High education reduces waits by 66, 32 and 48%, respectively. We also find income effects, although generally modest. An increase in income of 10 000 Euro reduces waiting times for specialist consultation by 8% in Germany and waiting times for non-emergency surgery by 26% in Greece. Surprisingly, an increase in income of 10 000 Euro increases waits by 11% in Sweden. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/hec.1429
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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 18 (2009)
Issue (Month): 11 ()
Pages: 1295-1306

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Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:18:y:2009:i:11:p:1295-1306
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/5749

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  1. Jeremy Hurst & Luigi Siciliani, 2003. "Tackling Excessive Waiting Times for Elective Surgery: A Comparison of Policies in Twelve OECD Countries," OECD Health Working Papers 6, OECD Publishing.
  2. Bishai, David M. & Lang, Hui Chu, 2000. "The willingness to pay for wait reduction: the disutility of queues for cataract surgery in Canada, Denmark, and Spain," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 219-230, March.
  3. Martin, Stephen & Smith, Peter C., 1999. "Rationing by waiting lists: an empirical investigation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 141-164, January.
  4. Carol Propper & Jenny Eachus & Philip Chan & Nicky Pearson & George Davey Smith, 2005. "Access to health care resources in the UK: the case of care for arthritis," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(4), pages 391-406.
  5. Elizabeth Docteur & Howard Oxley, 2003. "Health-Care Systems: Lessons from the Reform Experience," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 374, OECD Publishing.
  6. Wagstaff, Adam, 1986. "The demand for health : Some new empirical evidence," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 195-233, September.
  7. Luigi Siciliani & Jeremy Hurst, 2003. "Explaining Waiting Times Variations for Elective Surgery Across OECD Countries," OECD Health Working Papers 7, OECD Publishing.
  8. Ulf- G. Gerdtham, 1997. "Equity in Health Care Utilization: Further Tests Based on Hurdle Models and Swedish Micro Data," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(3), pages 303-319.
  9. Gravelle, Hugh & Siciliani, Luigi, 2008. "Optimal quality, waits and charges in health insurance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 663-674, May.
  10. Martin, Stephen & Rice, Nigel & Jacobs, Rowena & Smith, Peter, 2007. "The market for elective surgery: Joint estimation of supply and demand," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 263-285, March.
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