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The Human Side of Austerity: Health Spending and Outcomes During the Greek Crisis

Roberto Perotti

NBER Working Paper No. 24909
Issued in August 2018
NBER Program(s):Economic Fluctuations and Growth, Health Care, Health Economics, Public Economics

The Greek crisis was the most severe in postwar Europe; its budget cuts were the deepest. Among the components of the budget, health spending was hit particularly hard, declining by more than one third in just five years. This paper has two goals: establish the facts about health inputs, outputs and outcomes during the Greek crisis, and explore the connection between budget cuts and health outcomes. Health spending and inputs were very high in Greece before the crisis: in several dimensions, even after the budget cuts were implemented health spending and inputs were still at or near the top of the European countries; in other cases they merely went back to the European average. Nevertheless, budget cuts so deep and so sudden are unlikely to merely cut into inefficiencies and overcapacities. I highlight several areas in which a comparative quantitative analysis suggests that budget cuts might have had an appreciable effects on the health of the population.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24909

 
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