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Health Econ. 1998 Sep;7(6):533-44.

The black box of health care expenditure growth determinants.

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Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal.


In this paper, the determinants of growth of aggregate health expenditures are investigated. The study departs from previous literature in that it looks at differences across countries in growth (and not levels) of health care expenditures. Estimation is made for 24 OECD countries. Health system characteristics usually believed to influence health expenditures growth, like population ageing, the type of health system (public reimbursement, public contract or integrate) and existence of gatekeepers, are found to be non-significant. Nevertheless, there is evidence that health expenditures experienced a clear slower growth in the last decade. The explanation for this slowdown could not be found in the proposed model and should stimulate further research.

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