The Relative Importance of Health Care and Social Services for Population Health: A Time Series Investigation

  •  Benjamin Yawney    
  •  Akhter Faroque    


We study the relative importance of government health care and social services spending in the short, medium and long run across vector error correction models for six population health indicators. Each model takes into account the key time series properties of the health input and output data and also controls for the broader socio-economic, demographic, life-style and environmental determinants of health. The evidence shows that both types of spending contribute significantly to extending life expectancy and lowering mortality. However, the relative contributions of health care spending are bigger in the short run, while those of social services spending are bigger in the medium and the long run. Any policy of re-allocation of resources from health care to social services must take this trade-off into account.

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