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Access to primary care and workers’ opportunity costs. Evidence from Italy

  • De Luca, Giuliana
  • Ponzo, Michela

This paper explores whether and to which extent employment condition and working hours influence individuals’ decision process in consuming primary care. The hypothesis is that the higher the workers’ opportunity cost in terms of earning forgone, the less the demand for General Practitioner (GP) visits. Data used in the analysis come from the 2004/2005 “Health conditions and recourse to health services” survey provided by the Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT). We apply a negative binomial regression to model the relationship between the number of GP visits and employment related variables, controlling for a rich set of individual demographic characteristics, socio-economic variables, health status, supply and geographical factors. We show that self-employed workers, managers and cadres use significantly less primary care services notwithstanding the access is free. We interpret these findings as being due to the fact that these type of workers have higher opportunity costs than white and blue collars, since they suffer more from the loss of earnings related to the absence from work

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 15479.

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Date of creation: May 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:15479
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  1. Eddy van Doorslaer & Xander Koolman & Andrew M. Jones, 2004. "Explaining income-related inequalities in doctor utilisation in Europe," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(7), pages 629-647.
  2. Cameron, A C & P. K. Trivedi & Frank Milne & J. Piggott, 1988. "A Microeconometric Model of the Demand for Health Care and Health Insurance in Australia," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 85-106, January.
  3. Greene, William, 2008. "Functional forms for the negative binomial model for count data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(3), pages 585-590, June.
  4. Winfried Pohlmeier & Volker Ulrich, 1995. "An Econometric Model of the Two-Part Decisionmaking Process in the Demand for Health Care," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(2), pages 339-361.
  5. Fernandez-Olano, C. & Hidalgo, J.D. Lopez-Torres & Cerda-Diaz, R. & Requena-Gallego, M. & Sanchez-Castano, C. & Urbistondo-Cascales, L. & Otero-Puime, A., 2006. "Factors associated with health care utilization by the elderly in a public health care system," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 131-139, January.
  6. Mullahy, John, 1986. "Specification and testing of some modified count data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 341-365, December.
  7. Duan, Naihua, et al, 1983. "A Comparison of Alternative Models for the Demand for Medical Care," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 1(2), pages 115-26, April.
  8. Janssen, Richard, 1992. "Time prices and the demand for GP services," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 725-733, April.
  9. Hugh Gravelle & Matthew Sutton & Stephen Morris & Frank Windmeijer & Alastair Leyland & Chris Dibben & Mike Muirhead, 2003. "Modelling supply and demand influences on the use of health care: implications for deriving a needs-based capitation formula," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(12), pages 985-1004.
  10. Phelps, Charles E & Newhouse, Joseph P, 1974. "Coinsurance, the Price of Time, and the Demand for Medical Services," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 56(3), pages 334-42, August.
  11. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
  12. Grossman, Michael, 1982. "The demand for health after a decade," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 1-3, May.
  13. Willard G. Manning Jr. & Charles E. Phelps, 1979. "The Demand for Dental Care," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(2), pages 503-525, Autumn.
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