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Health Care Quality and Economic Inequality

We argue that health care quality has an important impact on economic inequality and on saving behaviour. We exploit district-wide variability in health care quality provided by the Italian universal public health system to identify the effect of quality on income inequality, health inequality and precautionary saving. We find that in lower quality districts there is greater income and health dispersion and higher precautionary saving. The analysis carries important insights for the ongoing debate about the validity of the life-cycle model and interesting policy implications for the design of health care systems.

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File URL: http://www.csef.it/WP/wp120.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 120.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2004
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Publication status: Published in Health Economics, April 2007, vol. 16, issue 4, pages 327-346
Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:120
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  1. Christopher D. Carroll & Andrew A. Samwick, 1995. "How Important is Precautionary Saving?," NBER Working Papers 5194, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Michael Hurd & Arie Kapteyn, 2003. "Health, Wealth, and the Role of Institutions," Working Papers 03-09, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  3. Jonathan Gruber & Aaron Yelowitz, 1997. "Public Health Insurance and Private Savings," UCLA Economics Working Papers 772, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. Paul Gertler & Jonathan Gruber, 1997. "Insuring Consumption Against Illness," NBER Working Papers 6035, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Orazio P. Attanasio & Agar Brugiavini, 2003. "Social Security And Households' Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1075-1119, August.
  6. Caballero, R.J., 1988. "Consumption Puzzles And Precautionary Savings," Discussion Papers 1988_05, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  7. Glenn R. Hubbard & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, . "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 3-95, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  8. Erich Battistin & Raffaele Miniaci & Guglielmo Weber, 2003. "What Do We Learn from Recall Consumption Data?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(2).
  9. Currie, Janet & Madrian, Brigitte C., 1999. "Health, health insurance and the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 50, pages 3309-3416 Elsevier.
  10. Palumbo, Michael G, 1999. "Uncertain Medical Expenses and Precautionary Saving Near the End of the Life Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 395-421, April.
  11. Tullio Jappelli & Mario Padula, 2002. "The Quality of Health Care: Evidence from Italy," CSEF Working Papers 84, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  12. Starr-McCluer, Martha, 1996. "Health Insurance and Precautionary Savings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 285-95, March.
  13. Victor R. Fuchs & Mark B. McClellan & Jonathan S. Skinner, 2004. "Area Differences in Utilization of Medical Care and Mortality among U.S. Elderly," NBER Chapters, in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 367-414 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Behrman, Jere R & Birdsall, Nancy, 1983. "The Quality of Schooling: Quantity Alone is Misleading," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 928-46, December.
  15. Angus S. Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1998. "Health, Income, and Inequality over the Life Cycle," NBER Chapters, in: Frontiers in the Economics of Aging, pages 431-462 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1992. "Earnings Uncertainty and Precautionary Saving," CEPR Discussion Papers 699, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
  18. Grossman, Michael, 2000. "The human capital model," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 347-408 Elsevier.
  19. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1986. "Health Expenditures and Precautionary Savings," NBER Working Papers 2008, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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