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Why Do Americans Spend So Much More on Health Care than Europeans?

Listed author(s):
  • Kevin x.d. Huang

    ()

    (Vanderbilt University)

  • Hui He

    ()

    (Shanghai University of Finance and Economics and International Monetary Fund)

Empirical evidence suggests that both leisure time and medical care are important for maintaining health. We develop a general equilibrium macroeconomic model in which taxation is a key determinant of the composition of these two inputs in the endogenous accumulation of health capital. In our model, higher taxes lead to using relatively more leisure time and less medical care in maintaining health. We find that difference in taxation between the US and Europe can account for a large fraction of their difference in health expenditure-GDP ratio and almost all of their difference in time input for health production.

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File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/pubs/VUECON/VUECON-15-00003.pdf
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Paper provided by Vanderbilt University Department of Economics in its series Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers with number 15-00003.

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Date of creation: 08 Apr 2015
Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:vuecon-15-00003
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/econ/wparchive/index.html

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  1. Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Jonsson, Bengt, 2000. "International comparisons of health expenditure: Theory, data and econometric analysis," Handbook of Health Economics,in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 11-53 Elsevier.
  2. Alberto F. Alesina & Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 2006. "Work and Leisure in the U.S. and Europe: Why So Different?," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2005, Volume 20, pages 1-100 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Ohanian, Lee & Raffo, Andrea & Rogerson, Richard, 2008. "Long-term changes in labor supply and taxes: Evidence from OECD countries, 1956-2004," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1353-1362, November.
  4. Yogo, Motohiro, 2016. "Portfolio choice in retirement: Health risk and the demand for annuities, housing, and risky assets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 17-34.
  5. Steven J. Davis & Magnus Henrekson, 2004. "Tax Effects on Work Activity, Industry Mix and Shadow Economy Size: Evidence from Rich-Country Comparisons," NBER Working Papers 10509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Jul, pages 2-13.
  7. Gronau, Reuben, 1977. "Leisure, Home Production, and Work-The Theory of the Allocation of Time Revisited," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1099-1123, December.
  8. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 2007. "The Value of Life and the Rise in Health Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 39-72.
  9. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Razin, Assaf & Tesar, Linda L., 1994. "Effective tax rates in macroeconomics: Cross-country estimates of tax rates on factor incomes and consumption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 297-323, December.
  10. Kevin X. D. Huang & Hui He, 2013. "Why Do Americans Spend So Much More on Health Care than Europeans?," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 13-00021, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  11. Richard Rogerson, 2008. "Structural Transformation and the Deterioration of European Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(2), pages 235-259, 04.
  12. Raquel Fonseca & Pierre-Carl Michaud & Titus Galama & Arie Kapteyn, 2009. "On the Rise of Health Spending and Longevity," Working Papers 722, RAND Corporation.
  13. Conny Olovsson, 2009. "Why Do Europeans Work So Little?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 39-61, 02.
  14. Michael Insler, 2014. "The Health Consequences of Retirement," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(1), pages 195-233.
  15. Ehrlich, Isaac & Chuma, Hiroyuki, 1990. "A Model of the Demand for Longevity and the Value of Life Extension," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 761-782, August.
  16. Zhao, Kai, 2014. "Social security and the rise in health spending," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 21-37.
  17. Sickles, Robin C & Yazbeck, Abdo, 1998. "On the Dynamics of Demand for Leisure and the Production of Health," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 16(2), pages 187-197, April.
  18. Hanming Fang & Alessandro Gavazza, 2011. "Dynamic Inefficiencies in an Employment-Based Health Insurance System: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3047-3077, December.
  19. Juergen Jung & Chung Tran, 2008. "The Macroeconomics of Health Savings Accounts," Caepr Working Papers 2007-023, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  20. Chen, Kaiji & Imrohoroglu, Ayse & Imrohoroglu, Selahattin, 2009. "A quantitative assessment of the decline in the U.S. current account," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1135-1147, November.
  21. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good for Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650.
  22. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-255, March-Apr.
  23. Kevin x.d. Huang & Hui He & Sheng-ti Hung, 2013. "Substituting Leisure for Health Expenditure: A General Equilibrium-Based Empirical Investigation," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 13-00020, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  24. Contoyannis, Paul & Jones, Andrew M., 2004. "Socio-economic status, health and lifestyle," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 965-995, September.
  25. Richard Rogerson, 2004. "Two Views on the Deterioration of European Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 447-455, 04/05.
  26. Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Holger Strulik, 2010. "Optimal Aging and Death," PGDA Working Papers 5810, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  27. Viscusi, W Kip & Evans, William N, 1990. "Utility Functions That Depend on Health Status: Estimates and Economic Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 353-374, June.
  28. Juergen Jung & Chung Tran, 2010. "Medical Consumption Over the Life Cycle: Facts from a U.S. Medical Expenditure Panel Survey," Discussion Papers 2010-08, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
  29. Zhigang Feng, 2009. "Macroeconomic Consequences of Alternative Reforms to the Health Insurance System in the U.S," Working Papers 0908, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
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