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Health Care Quality and Economic Inequality

  • Jappelli, Tullio
  • Pistaferri, Luigi
  • Weber, Guglielmo

We argue that health care quality has an important impact on economic inequality and on saving behaviour. We exploit district-wide variability in health care quality provided by the Italian universal public health system to identify the effect of quality on income inequality, health inequality and precautionary saving. We find that in lower quality districts there is greater income and health dispersion and higher precautionary saving. The analysis carries important insights for the ongoing debate about the validity of the life-cycle model and interesting policy implications for the design of health care systems.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4542.

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Date of creation: Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4542
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  1. Tullio Jappelli & Mario Padula, 2003. "The Quality of Health Care: Evidence from Italy," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 62(1), pages 7-34, April.
  2. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1992. "Earnings uncertainty and precautionary saving," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 307-337, November.
  3. Grossman, Michael, 2000. "The human capital model," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 347-408 Elsevier.
  4. Michael Hurd & Arie Kapteyn, 2003. "Health, Wealth, and the Role of Institutions," Working Papers 03-09, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  5. Paul Gertler & Jonathan Gruber, 1997. "Insuring Consumption Against Illness," NBER Working Papers 6035, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Martha Starr-McCluer, 1994. "Health insurance and precautionary saving," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 94-10, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Glenn R. Hubbard & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, . "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 03-95, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  8. Palumbo, Michael G, 1999. "Uncertain Medical Expenses and Precautionary Saving Near the End of the Life Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 395-421, April.
  9. Erich Battistin & Raffale Miniaci & Guglielmo Weber, 2000. "What do we learn from recall consumption data?," IFS Working Papers W00/10, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  10. Christopher D. Carroll & Andrew A. Samwick, 1993. "How important is precautionary saving?," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 145, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Caballero, R.J., 1988. "Consumption Puzzles And Precautionary Savings," Discussion Papers 1988_05, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  12. Victor R. Fuchs & Mark McClellan & Jonathan Skinner, 2001. "Area Differences in Utilization of Medical Care and Mortality Among U.S. Elderly," NBER Working Papers 8628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Angus S. Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1998. "Health, Income, and Inequality over the Life Cycle," NBER Chapters, in: Frontiers in the Economics of Aging, pages 431-462 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Jonathan Gruber & Aaron S. Yelowitz, 1998. "Public Health Insurance and Private Savings," JCPR Working Papers 42, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  15. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1986. "Health Expenditures and Precautionary Savings," NBER Working Papers 2008, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Behrman, Jere R & Birdsall, Nancy, 1983. "The Quality of Schooling: Quantity Alone is Misleading," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 928-46, December.
  17. Orazio P. Attanasio & Agar Brugiavini, 2003. "Social Security And Households' Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1075-1119, August.
  18. Janet Currie & Brigitte C. Madrian, 1998. "Health, Health Insurance and the Labor Market," JCPR Working Papers 27, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  19. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
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