Examining structural breaks and growth rates in international health expenditures

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Over the last decade, there has been a growing interest in examining health expenditures. In this paper, we study the behaviour of health expenditures in the G3 countries (USA, the UK, and Japan) and three European countries (the UK, Switzerland and Spain) over the period 1960-2000 from a different perspective, in that we examine: (1) whether there is a common structural break in health expenditures across the G3 and European countries; (2) whether structural breaks have slowed down health expenditure growth rates in these countries or vice versa. Our main findings are that: (1) health expenditures share a common break in both bivariate and trivariate cases, and structural breaks and break intervals suggest that either one or a combination of events (second oil price shock, the 1987 stock market crash and/or recessions) have contributed to the commonality of break in health expenditures in the G3, while the oil price shocks have been instrumental in the commonality of breaks for the European countries; (2) except for the UK, structural breaks have slowed down growth rates in health expenditures for the USA, Japan, Switzerland and Spain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)877-890
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Health Economics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Common structural break
  • Health expenditure

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