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Moral Hazard and the Demand for Health Services: A Matching Estimator Approach

  • Barros, Pedro Luis Pita
  • Machado, Matilde Pinto
  • Sanz-de-Galdeano, Anna

We estimate the impact of health insurance coverage beyond National Health Insurance on the demand for several health services. Traditionally, the literature has tried to deal with the endogeneity of the private (extra) insurance decision by finding instrumental variables. Since a priori instrumental variables are hard to find we take a different approach. We focus on the most common health insurance plan in Portugal, ADSE, which is given to all civil servants and their dependants. We argue this insurance is exogenous i.e. not correlated with beneficiaries’ health status. This identifying assumption allows us to estimate the impact of having ADSE coverage on three different health services using a matching estimator technique. The health services used are: number of visits, number of blood and urine tests, and the probability of visiting a dentist. Results show large positive effects of ADSE for number of visits and tests among the young (18 to 30 years old) but only the latter is statistically significantly different from zero. The effects represent 21.8 and 30% of the average number of visits and tests for the young. On the contrary, we find no evidence of moral hazard on the probability of visiting a dentist.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5488.

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Date of creation: Feb 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5488
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  1. Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Under Exogeneity: A Review," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 4-29, February.
  2. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre & Durand, Franck & Geoffard, Pierre-Yves, 1998. "Moral hazard and the demand for physician services: First lessons from a French natural experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 499-511, May.
  3. repec:oup:restud:v:55:y:1988:i:1:p:85-106 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Joao M.C. Santos Silva & Frank Windmeijer, 1999. "Two-part multiple spell models for health care demand," IFS Working Papers W99/02, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. �ngel Marcos Vera-Hernández, 1999. "Duplicate coverage and demand for health care. The case of Catalonia," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(7), pages 579-598.
  6. Sergi Jiménez-Mart�n & José M. Labeaga & Maite Mart�nez-Granado, 2002. "Latent class versus two-part models in the demand for physician services across the European Union," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(4), pages 301-321.
  7. Savage, Elizabeth & Wright, Donald J., 2003. "Moral hazard and adverse selection in Australian private hospitals: 1989-1990," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 331-359, May.
  8. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2008. "On the Failure of the Bootstrap for Matching Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(6), pages 1537-1557, November.
  9. Antonio Trujillo & Jorge Portillo & John Vernon, 2005. "The Impact of Subsidized Health Insurance for the Poor: Evaluating the Colombian Experience Using Propensity Score Matching," International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 211-239, September.
  10. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2006. "Large Sample Properties of Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(1), pages 235-267, 01.
  11. Pau Olivella & Marcos Vera-Hernandez, 2006. "Testing for adverse selection into private medical insurance," IFS Working Papers W06/02, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  12. Lucien Gardiol & Pierre-Yves Geoffard & Chantal Grandchamp, 2005. "Separating selection and incentive effects in health insurance," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590713, HAL.
  13. Windmeijer, F A G & Silva, J M C Santos, 1997. "Endogeneity in Count Data Models: An Application to Demand for Health Care," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(3), pages 281-94, May-June.
  14. Manning, Willard G, et al, 1987. "Health Insurance and the Demand for Medical Care: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 251-77, June.
  15. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00590713 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Coulson, N Edward, et al, 1995. "Estimating the Moral-Hazard Effect of Supplemental Medical Insurance in the Demand for Prescription Drugs by the Elderly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 122-26, May.
  17. Deb, Partha & Trivedi, Pravin K., 2002. "The structure of demand for health care: latent class versus two-part models," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 601-625, July.
  18. Alberto HOLLY & Lucien GARDIOL & Gianfranco DOMENIGHETTI & Brigitte BISIG, 1998. "An Econometric Model of Health Care Utilization and Health Insurance in Switzerland," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 9803, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  19. Carine Van De Voorde & Eddy Van Doorslaer & Erik Schokkaert, 2001. "Effects of cost sharing on physician utilization under favourable conditions for supplier-induced demand," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(5), pages 457-471.
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