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Spend Less, Get More? Explaining Health Spending and Outcome Differences Between Canada and Italy

Livio Di Matteo and Tom Barbiero
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Tom Barbiero: Ryerson University

No 77, Working Papers from Ryerson University, Department of Economics

Abstract: Canada spends more than Italy on health in per capita terms and as a share of GDP and yet Italy’s two main health indicators as measured by life expectancy and infant mortality are better and have improved more than Canada’s in recent years. Research at the national and international level has noted that more health spending does not always result in improved outcomes. Moreover, other social determinants have also been seen as important to health outcomes. Social spending relative to health spending has been tied to improvements in life expectancy and mortality rates. A key difference between Canada and Italy is that Italy spends relatively more on social transfers – particularly pensions. We find that more social spending and health spending in either Italy or Canada does not explain the differences in health outcomes. Moreover, once we consider more social spending in Italy, the Italian health care system may not be much more efficient than the Canadian system.

Pages: 50 pages
Date: 2019-05
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