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

Summary

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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Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0 ), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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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). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03399278

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03399278

JEL-Classification

  • H11
  • I12
  • I18
  • J16

Keywords

  • Marginal cost of saving a life
  • value of a statistical life
  • gender
  • health production
  • regional diversity