The impact of universal health coverage on households’ consumption and savings in Thailand

Phatta Kirdruang, Paul Glewwe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper studies the impact of Thailand's Universal Health Coverage Scheme (UCS) on households' consumption and savings by using a synthetic panel data approach. Using difference-in-differences estimation, it finds that, in the short run, the UCS had little or no impact on either savings or consumption expenditures. In the long run, the UCS still had no effect on savings, but there is some evidence of an increase in consumption. These effects are generally consistent with economic theory. The provision of healthcare coverage at little or no cost to previously uninsured households has an income effect that will increase both savings and consumption and a risk reduction effect that will reduce precautionary savings and thus increase consumption. These two effects on savings are of opposite sign and appear to cancel each other out, while both effects on consumption are positive and so appear to increase consumption, at least in the long run.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-98
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of the Asia Pacific Economy
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018

Keywords

  • Universal coverage
  • health insurance
  • precautionary savings
  • synthetic panel

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