An Empirical Analysis of the Demand for Physician Services Across the European Union
This paper presents parameter estimates for physician services equations using the European Community Household Panel for 12 countries covering the period 1994-1996. The focus is on two specific points: i) the identification of behavioural similarities and differences in the demand for health across the countries; ii) the variability of the demand for health captured through a joint model for all the countries. We find that there are significant differences across countries, although there are also similarities in the effect of variables such as the health stock, labour situation or family structure. An important fraction of the variability of the demand of health services across countries could be explained from differences in age, income, and the role of General Practitioners (GP) as a gatekeepers in the public health system. We also find some evidence of induced demand effects in both the decision to visit and the number of visits to specialists.
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