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Waiting times and socioeconomic status. Evidence from Norway

By Fredrik Carlsen and Oddvar Martin Kaarbøe


We investigate whether socioeconomic status, measured by income and education, affects waiting time when controls for severity and hospital specific conditions are included. We also examine which aspects of the hospital supply (attachment to local hospital, traveling time, or choice of hospital) that matter most for unequal treatment of different socioeconomic groups, and how different behavior responses can create discrimination. The study uses administrative data from all somatic elective inpatient and outpatient hospital stays in Norway. The main results are that we find very little indication of discrimination with regard to income. This result holds both for males and females. We find some indication of discrimination of men with low education as these men have a lower probability of zero waiting time. We also find a pro educational bias for women; as women with only primary education wait about 9 % (13 %) longer than women with upper secondary (tertiary) education.Health Care Markets; Regulations: Public Health

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