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Growth and Containment of Health Care Expenditure in Industrial Countries


  • Theo Hitiris


Health Expenditure has been rising faster than the growth of income in most industrial countries. The objective of this paper is to discover what factors determined Health Expenditure per head of population in the G7 Countries and whether governments could control them. The analysis has identified three factors that affect Health Expenditure positively: income per head, the ageing population and the share of public expenditure on GDP. None of these variables can be controlled by the government for the sole purpose of containing the growth of Health Care Expenditure. Therefore, only reform of national Health Service Systems could effectively contain the growth of Health Spending. The reforms introduced by some countries in the early 1990s had no significant effect on cost containment with the result that health care expenditure continued to rise in some faster than before. The exception is Japan which managed to achieve a significant downturn in the growth of health expenditure.

Suggested Citation

  • Theo Hitiris, "undated". "Growth and Containment of Health Care Expenditure in Industrial Countries," Discussion Papers 99/15, Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:99/15

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David M. Cutler & Ellen Meara, 1998. "The Medical Costs of the Young and Old: A Forty-Year Perspective," NBER Chapters,in: Frontiers in the Economics of Aging, pages 215-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    4. Parkin, David & McGuire, Alistair & Yule, Brian, 1987. "Aggregate health care expenditures and national income : Is health care a luxury good?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 109-127, June.
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    6. Anderton, Bob & Pesaran, Bahram & Wren-Lewis, Simon, 1992. "Imports, Output and the Demand for Manufactures," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(2), pages 175-186, April.
    7. Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Sogaard, Jes & Andersson, Fredrik & Jonsson, Bengt, 1992. "An econometric analysis of health care expenditure: A cross-section study of the OECD countries," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 63-84, May.
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    9. Blomqvist, A. G. & Carter, R. A. L., 1997. "Is health care really a luxury?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 207-229, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:8:y:2007:i:4:p:1-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Ismael Sanz & Francisco Javier Velázquez, 2002. "Determinants of the Composition of Government Expenditure by Functions," European Economy Group Working Papers 13, European Economy Group.
    3. Julian Ramajo & Javier Salinas & Francisco Pedraja & Miguel Márquez, 2007. "Competition in the allocation of public spending: a new model to analyse the interaction between expenditure categories," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 8(4), pages 1-7.

    More about this item


    Health care expenditure; cost containment;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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