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Why Do Americans Spend So Much More on Health Care than Europeans?--A General Equilibrium Macroeconomic Analysis

  • Hui He

    ()

    (Shanghai University of Finance and Economics)

  • Kevin x.d. Huang

    ()

    (Vanderbilt University)

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 the difference in taxation can account for a large fraction of the difference in health expenditure-GDP ratio and almost all of the difference in time input for health production between the US and Europe.

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Paper provided by Vanderbilt University Department of Economics in its series Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers with number 13-00005.

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Date of creation: 25 Mar 2013
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Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:vuecon-sub-13-00005
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/econ/wparchive/index.html

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  1. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 2004. "The Value of Life and the Rise in Health Spending," NBER Working Papers 10737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Juergen Jung & Chung Tran, 2010. "The Macroeconomics of Health Savings Accounts," Working Papers 2010-12, Towson University, Department of Economics, revised May 2011.
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  4. Alberto Alesina & Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 2005. "Work and Leisure in the U.S. and Europe: Why So Different?," NBER Working Papers 11278, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Amy Finkelstein & Erzo F.P. Luttmer & Matthew J. Notowidigdo, 2008. "What Good Is Wealth Without Health? The Effect of Health on the Marginal Utility of Consumption," NBER Working Papers 14089, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. 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.
  8. Hui He & Hao Zhang & Tim Halliday, 2010. "Health Investment over the Life-Cycle," 2010 Meeting Papers 1179, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650, May.
  10. 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 3047-77, December.
  11. Davis, Steven J. & Henrekson, Magnus, 2004. "Tax Effects on Work Activity, Industry Mix and Shadow Economy Size: Evidence from Rich-Country Comparisons," Ratio Working Papers 57, The Ratio Institute.
  12. Fonseca, Raquel & Michaud, Pierre-Carl & Galama, Titus & Kapteyn, Arie, 2009. "On The Rise of Health Spending and Longevity," IZA Discussion Papers 4622, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. 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 187-97, April.
  14. Reuben Gronau, 1976. "Leisure, Home Production and Work--The Theory of The Allocation of Time Revisited," NBER Working Papers 0137, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Michael Insler, 2013. "The Health Consequences of Retirement," Departmental Working Papers 43, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.
  16. Lee Ohanian & Andrea Raffo & Richard Rogerson, 2006. "Long-term changes in labor supply and taxes: evidence from OECD countries, 1956-2004," Research Working Paper RWP 06-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  17. Motohiro Yogo, 2009. "Portfolio Choice in Retirement: Health Risk and the Demand for Annuities, Housing, and Risky Assets," NBER Working Papers 15307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Kai (Jackie) Zhao, 2011. "Social Security and the Rise in Health Spending: A Macroeconomic Analysis," 2011 Meeting Papers 1061, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  19. Kenkel, D.S., 1989. "Should You Eat Breakfast? Estimates From Health Production Functions," Papers 9-90-8, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  20. 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 353-74, June.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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 223-55, March-Apr.
  24. 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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