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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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  1. 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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  3. Motohiro Yogo, 2008. "Portfolio Choice in Retirement: Health Risk and the Demand for Annuities, Housing, and Risky Assets," 2008 Meeting Papers 63, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Hui He & Hao Zhang & Tim Halliday, 2010. "Health Investment over the Life-Cycle," 2010 Meeting Papers 1179, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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  7. Kai (Jackie) Zhao, 2011. "Social Security and the Rise in Health Spending: A Macroeconomic Analysis," 2011 Meeting Papers 1061, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. 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.
  9. 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).
  10. Kenkel, D.S., 1989. "Should You Eat Breakfast? Estimates From Health Production Functions," Papers 9-90-8, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  11. Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Holger Strulik, 2010. "Optimal Aging and Death," PGDA Working Papers 5810, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Michael Insler, 2014. "The Health Consequences of Retirement," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(1), pages 195-233.
  15. Conny Olovsson, 2004. "Why do Europeans Work so Little?," 2004 Meeting Papers 760, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 2005. "The value of life and the rise in health spending," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  19. Contoyannis, Paul & Jones, Andrew M., 2004. "Socio-economic status, health and lifestyle," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 965-995, September.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Hanming Fang & Alessandro Gavazza, 2010. "Dynamic Inefficiencies in an Employment-Based Health Insurance System: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 10-01, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  24. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650, May.
  25. 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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