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The Marginal Cost of Saving a Life in Health Care: Age, Gender and Regional Differences in Switzerland


This paper estimates the marginal cost of saving a life using age- and gender-specific health care expenditures and mortality rates of the 26 Swiss cantons for the period 1997 to 2006. It shows almost triple the marginal cost of saving a life for women as compared to men, reflecting a lower marginal elasticity of medical inputs, a lower mortality rate and higher spending on health care for women. Medical technology does not differ across cantons while the marginal cost of saving a life does. Wealthy cantons spend more on saving a life at the margin and show a smaller gender gap in longevity.


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Felder, S., Werblow, A. The Marginal Cost of Saving a Life in Health Care: Age, Gender and Regional Differences in Switzerland. Swiss J Economics Statistics 145, 137–153 (2009).

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