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Will the real elasticity of substitution 'in Norwegian dentistry' please stand up?

Listed author(s):
  • Albert A. Okunade

    (Department of Economics, The University of Memphis, USA)

The non-homothetic production cost structure in Norwegian private dentistry involves more than two factor inputs. Consequently, this paper implements-separately for solo and group practices-three conceptually different measures of factor substitutions to infer the precise nature of input associations using translog cost model estimates based on 1993 data. We calculate own- and cross-price elasticities of factor demands, pairwise elasticities of substitution and their approximate S.E.s. We find that: (1) dentists and dental assistants cannot be consistently aggregated as one homogeneous labour input; (2) input demands are inelastic; (3) the theoretically restrictive Allen-Uzawa and the less restrictive shadow and Morishima elasticities of substitution are not equivalent; (4) dentists and auxiliary dental personnel relate as significant substitutes in solo practices and as significant complements in group practices; (5) 'supplies' (e.g., dental materials) in the aggregate are substitutes for the two types of dentistry labour; and (6) there appears to be a wider scope for factor substitutions in group rather than solo practices. Due to inelastic factor demands, opportunities for cost controls are limited despite some tendencies for factor interchange. Finally, future researchers of production costs involving more than two inputs should investigate the less restrictive, alternative measures of factor substitutions. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 8 (1999)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 221-232

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Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:8:y:1999:i:3:p:221-232
DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1050(199905)8:3<221::AID-HEC408>3.0.CO;2-Y
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  1. Blackorby, Charles & Russell, R Robert, 1989. "Will the Real Elasticity of Substitution Please Stand Up? (A Comparison of the Allen/Uzawa and Morishima Elasticities)," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 882-888, September.
  2. Thompson, Peter & Taylor, Timothy G, 1995. "The Capital-Energy Substitutability Debate: A New Look," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(3), pages 565-569, August.
  3. Grytten, Jostein & Dalen, Dag Morten, 1997. "Too many for too few? Efficiency among dentists working in private practice in Norway," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 483-497, August.
  4. Berndt, Ernst R & Christensen, Laurits R, 1974. "Testing for the Existence of a Consistent Aggregate Index of Labor Inputs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 391-404, June.
  5. Michael Hazilla, 1997. "Separability and capital aggregation in sectoral models of US production," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(7), pages 955-974.
  6. Y. Mundlak, 1968. "Elasticities of Substitution and the Theory of Derived Demand," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 225-236.
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