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American Economic Journal: Applied Economics: Vol. 6 No. 1 (January 2014)

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The Great Equalizer: Health Care Access and Infant Mortality in Thailand

Article Citation

Gruber, Jonathan, Nathaniel Hendren, and Robert M. Townsend. 2014. "The Great Equalizer: Health Care Access and Infant Mortality in Thailand." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 6(1): 91-107.

DOI: 10.1257/app.6.1.91

Abstract

This paper analyzes Thailand's 2001 healthcare reform, "30 Baht." The program increased funding available to hospitals to care for the poor and reduced copays to 30 Baht (~$0.75). Our estimates suggest the supply-side funding of the program increased healthcare utilization, especially among the poor. Moreover, we find significant impacts on infant mortality. Prior to 30 Baht, poorer provinces had significantly higher infant mortality rates than richer provinces. After 30 Baht, this correlation evaporates to zero. The results suggest that increased access to healthcare among the poor can significantly reduce their infant mortality rates.

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Online Appendix (266.75 KB) | Download Data Set (76.90 KB) | Author Disclosure Statement(s) (66.93 KB)

Authors

Gruber, Jonathan (MIT)
Hendren, Nathaniel (Harvard U)
Townsend, Robert M. (MIT)

JEL Classifications

H51: National Government Expenditures and Health
I12: Health Production
I13: Health Insurance, Public and Private
I14: Health and Inequality
I18: Health: Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
J13: Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
O15: Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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