Health care expenditures and gross domestic product: the Turkish case

Sulku S. N., Caner A.

EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF HEALTH ECONOMICS, vol.12, no.1, pp.29-38, 2011 (SSCI) identifier identifier identifier


Our study examines the long-term relationship among per capita gross domestic product (GDP), per capita health expenditures and population growth rate in Turkey during the period 1984-2006, employing the Johansen multivariate cointegration technique. Related previous studies on OECD countries have mostly excluded Turkey-itself an OECD country. The only study on Turkey examines the period 1984-1998. However, after 1998, major events and policy changes that had a substantial impact on income and health expenditures took place in Turkey, including a series of reforms to restructure the health and social security system. In contrast to earlier findings in the literature, we find that the income elasticity of total health expenditures is less than one, which indicates that health care is a necessity in Turkey during the period of analysis. According to our results, a 10% increase in per capita GDP is associated with an 8.7% increase in total per capita health expenditures, controlling for population growth. We find that the income elasticity of public health expenditures is less than one. But, in the case of private health care expenditures, the elasticity is greater than one, meaning that private health care is a luxury good in Turkey.