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Sources of Geographic Variation in Health Care: Evidence from Patient Migration

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  • Amy Finkelstein
  • Matthew Gentzkow
  • Heidi Williams

Abstract

We study the drivers of geographic variation in US health care utilization, using an empirical strategy that exploits migration of Medicare patients to separate the role of demand and supply factors. Our approach allows us to account for demand differences driven by both observable and unobservable patient characteristics. We find that 40-50 percent of geographic variation in utilization is attributable to patient demand, with the remainder due to place-specific supply factors. Demand variation does not appear to result from differences in past experiences, and is explained to a significant degree by differences in patient health.

Suggested Citation

  • Amy Finkelstein & Matthew Gentzkow & Heidi Williams, 2014. "Sources of Geographic Variation in Health Care: Evidence from Patient Migration," NBER Working Papers 20789, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20789
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    1. David Card & Jörg Heining & Patrick Kline, 2013. "Workplace Heterogeneity and the Rise of West German Wage Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(3), pages 967-1015.
    2. Tomas J. Philipson & Seth A. Seabury & Lee M. Lockwood & Dana P. Goldman & Darius N. Lakdawalla, 2010. "Geographic Variation in Health Care: The Role of Private Markets," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 41(1 (Spring), pages 325-361.
    3. Abe C. Dunn & Adam Shapiro & Eli Liebman, 2011. "Geographic Variation in Commercial Medical Care Expenditures: A Decomposition Between Price and Utilization," BEA Working Papers 0075, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
    4. Bart J. Bronnenberg & Jean-Pierre H. Dube & Matthew Gentzkow, 2012. "The Evolution of Brand Preferences: Evidence from Consumer Migration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2472-2508, October.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets

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