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Health Econ. 2004 Jul;13(7):657-68.

Determinants of access to physician services in Italy: a latent class seemingly unrelated probit approach.

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Department of Economics, CEIS Tor Vergata and SEFEMEQ, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.


We examine access to general practitioners and specialists who work in the public and private sectors in Italy using a seemingly unrelated system of probits. We use a latent class formulation that provides a rich and flexible functional form and can accommodate non-normality of response probabilities. The empirical analysis shows that patient behavior can be clustered in two latent classes. We find that income strongly influences the mix of services. Richer individuals are less likely to seek care from GP's and more likely to seek care from specialists, and especially private specialists. Health status and societal vulnerability are the most important indicators of class membership.

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