IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Can Baumol's Model of Unbalanced Growth Contribute to Explaining the Secular Rise in Health Care Expenditure? An Alternative Test

In a recent paper I argued that Baumol’s (1967) model of ‘unbalanced growth’ offers a ready explanation for the observed secular rise in health care expenditure (HCE) in rich countries (HARTWIG 2006). Baumol’s model implies that HCE is driven by wage increases in excess of productivity growth. I tested this hypothesis empirically using data from a panel of 19 OECD countries and found robust evidence in favor of Baumol’s theory. An alternative way to test Baumol’s theory is to check whether its implication that variations in the relative price of medical care contribute significantly to explaining variations in health expenditure in the same direction has an empirical grounding. Earlier studies, although mostly not in an explicit attempt to test Baumol’s theory, have occasionally rejected this hypothesis. Despite poor data quality of the available medical price indices, I perform the alternative test using data for nine OECD countries. My findings suggest that the relative price of medical care is in fact a statistically significant explanatory variable for health expenditure, thus lending support to Baumol’s theory.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich in its series KOF Working papers with number 07-178.

in new window

Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:07-178
Contact details of provider: Postal: Leonhardstrasse 21, CH-8092 Zürich
Phone: +41 44 632 42 39
Fax: +41 44 632 12 18
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:07-178. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.