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Health Care Use, Out-of-Pocket Expenditure, and Macroeconomic Conditions during the Great Recession

Juan Du () and Takeshi Yagihashi ()

The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, 2015, vol. 15, issue 1, 38

Abstract: We study how macroeconomic conditions during the Great Recession affected health care utilization and out-of-pocket expenditures of American households. We use two data sources: the Consumer Expenditure (CE) Survey and the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP); each has its own advantages. The CE contains quarterly frequency variables, and the SIPP provides panel data at the individual level. Consistent evidence across the two datasets shows that utilization of routine medical care was counter-cyclical, whereas hospital care was pro-cyclical during the Great Recession. When we examine the pre-recession period, the relationship between macroeconomic conditions and health care use was either non-existent or in opposite directions, suggesting that this relationship may have been unique to the Great Recession.

Date: 2015
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