This paper presents parameter estimates for physician service equations using the “European Community Household Panel” for 12 countries covering the period 1994–1996. The focus is on two specific points: (1) the identification of behavioural similarities and differences in the demand for health services across the 12 countries; (2) the variability in demand for health services represented through a joint model for all countries. We found that there are significant differences among countries, although there are also similarities in the effect of variables such as health stock, labour situation or family structure. An important fraction of the variability in the demand for health services across countries could be explained by differences in age, income and the role of general practitioners as gatekeepers in the public health system. We found some evidence of induced demand in the decision to visit a specialist and in the number of such visits.
Count data Demand Physician services Latent class model Two-part model
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We are indebted to Raquel Carrasco, Berthold Herrendorf, Andrew Jones, Owen O’Donnell and two anonymous referees for their many helpful comments. This study was supported by an unrestricted educational grant from The Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck & Co. Inc. Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, USA and by BEC-2002-04294-C01-C02. All remaining errors are our own.
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