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Income-Related Inequality in the Use of Medical Care in 21 OECD Countries


  • Eddy van Doorslaer
  • Cristina Masseria


This study updates and extends a previous study on equity in physician utilisation for a subset of the countries analyzed here (Van Doorslaer, Koolman and Puffer, 2002). It updates results to 2000 for 13 countries and adds new results for eight countries: Australia, Finland, France, Hungary, Mexico, Norway, Switzerland and Sweden. Both simple quintile distributions and concentration indices were used to assess horizontal equity, i.e. the extent to which adults in equal need for physician care appear to have equal rates of medical care utilisation.With respect to physician utilisation, need is more concentrated among the worse off, but after “standardizing out” these need differences, significant horizontal inequity favoring the better off is found in about half of the countries, both for the probability and the total number of visits. The degree of pro-rich inequity in doctor use is highest in the US, followed by Mexico, Finland, Portugal and Sweden.In the majority ... Cette étude actualise et étend le champ d'investigation d'une étude antérieure sur l'équité de l'utilisation des services des médecins effectuée pour un sous-ensemble de pays analysés ici (Van Doorslaer, Koolman et Puffer, 2002). Elle actualise les résultats jusqu’à l’année 2000 pour treize pays et incorpore de nouveaux résultats pour huit autres pays de l'OCDE : l’Australie, la Finlande, la France, la Hongrie, le Mexique, la Norvège, la Suisse et la Suède. Elle utilise à la fois les distributions par quintile et les indices de concentration pour évaluer l'équité horizontale, c’est-à-dire dans quelle mesure des adultes ayant un égal besoin de soins médicaux ont apparemment des taux identiques d'utilisation de soins médicaux.Pour ce qui est de l'utilisation des médecins, les besoins en services médicaux ont tendance à être plus concentrés parmi les catégories défavorisées, mais après avoir pris en compte ces différences de besoins, on observe une iniquité horizontale positive ...

Suggested Citation

  • Eddy van Doorslaer & Cristina Masseria, 2004. "Income-Related Inequality in the Use of Medical Care in 21 OECD Countries," OECD Health Working Papers 14, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaad:14-en

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    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I19 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Other

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