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Can health public expenditure reduce the tragic consequences of road traffic accidents? The EU-27 experience


This study uses data for the EU-27 countries in the period 1999–2009 to estimate determinants of road traffic fatality rates. Controlling for country attributes and road safety policy variables, we examine the influence of variables related with the national health systems; the number of hospital beds per square kilometer, and the percentage of health expenditures over gross domestic product. We find evidence that the density of hospital beds contributes to the fall in traffic-related fatalities. Furthermore, the quality of general medical facilities and technology associated with increases in health expenditure may be also a relevant factor in reducing road traffic fatalities.

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    This concept refers to the care response timeframe after a RTA and is described as “crucial” by the literature for survival or reducing injuries (see Gitelman et al. 2012) (the first 60 min post-collision).

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    Albalate [1], Albalate & Bel (2011), Dee [16] and Eisenberg [17] consider that this is the most appropriate dependent variable for assessing road traffic fatalities as the interpretation of policy variables is clearer.


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The authors are grateful to Prof. Wolfgang Greiner and the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.

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Correspondence to Xavier Fageda.

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Castillo-Manzano, J.I., Castro-Nuño, M. & Fageda, X. Can health public expenditure reduce the tragic consequences of road traffic accidents? The EU-27 experience. Eur J Health Econ 15, 645–652 (2014).

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  • Road safety
  • Health expenditures
  • Hospital beds density
  • Panel data

JEL Classification

  • C33
  • I18
  • R41