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The Role of Education in Health System Performance: A Propos World Health Report 2000


  • Michel Grignon

    () (Department of Economics, Centre for Gerontological Studies, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis, McMaster University)


I investigate the role of education on health, using country level data and the production frontier framework suggested by the World Health Organization to assess performances of health care systems. I find that the role of human capital is much smaller than what appears in the WHO frontier model, and the relationship exhibits diminishing return in the observed range. Taking into account the heterogeneity in this relationship generates a different ranking of countries according to the efficiency of their health care system. This suggests that the method currently used by the WHO indeed favors health care systems operating in countries which underinvested in education in the past. The relationship between education and health changes around an average value of 8 years of education per individual: above that level, the return of years of education in health is zero.

Suggested Citation

  • Michel Grignon, 2006. "The Role of Education in Health System Performance: A Propos World Health Report 2000," Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis Working Paper Series 2006-03, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis (CHEPA), McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.
  • Handle: RePEc:hpa:wpaper:200603

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Brown, M C, 1989. "Empirical Determinants of Physician Incomes--Evidence from Canadian Data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 273-289.
    2. Christopher Ferrall & Allan W. Gregory & William Tholl, 1998. "Endogenous Work Hours and Practice Patterns of Canadian Physicians," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(1), pages 1-27, February.
    3. Rizzo, John A. & Blumenthal, David, 1994. "Physician labor supply: Do income effects matter?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 433-453.
    4. James Thornton & B. Kelly Eakin, 1997. "The Utility-Maximizing Self-Employed Physician," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(1), pages 98-128.
    5. Lapan, Harvey E. & Brown, Douglas M., 1988. "Utility Maximization, Individual Production and Market Equilibrium," Staff General Research Papers Archive 10815, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    6. Feldstein, Martin S, 1970. "The Rising Price of Physicians' Services," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 52(2), pages 121-133, May.
    7. Sung-Hee Jeon & Jeremiah Hurley, 2004. "The Relationship between Physician Labour Supply, Service Volume and Service Intensity," Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis Working Paper Series 2004-03, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis (CHEPA), McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.
    8. James Thornton, 1998. "The labour supply behaviour of self-employed solo practice physicians," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(1), pages 85-94.
    9. Anthony Scott, 2005. "The Productivity of Doctors in Australia: The ‘Flat of the Curve’ and Beyond?," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2005n19, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    10. Brown, Douglas M & Lapan, Harvey E, 1979. "The Supply of Physicians' Services," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 17(2), pages 269-279, April.
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    More about this item


    Human capital; Rate of return; Economic impact; Efficiency;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health


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