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

  • Kevin X. D. Huang

    ()

    (Vanderbilt University)

  • Hui He

    ()

    (Shanghai University of Finance and Economics)

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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Paper provided by Vanderbilt University Department of Economics in its series Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers with number 13-00021.

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Date of creation: 23 Dec 2013
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Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:vuecon-sub-13-00021
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/econ/wparchive/index.html

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  2. Juergen Jung & Chung Tran, 2010. "Medical Consumption over the Life Cycle: Facts from a U.S. Medical Expenditure Panel Survey," Working Papers 2010-09, Towson University, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2013.
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  8. Sheng-Ti Hung & Kevin X.D. Huang & Hui He, 2013. "Substituting Leisure for Health Expenditure: A General Equilibrium-Based Empirical Investigation," 2013 Meeting Papers 1310, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Holger Strulik, 2010. "Optimal Aging and Death," PGDA Working Papers 5810, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
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  19. 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.
  20. 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.
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  24. 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.
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