Lebenserwartung, medizinischer Fortschritt und Gesundheitsausgaben: Theorie und Empirie

In: Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, (2006) ; Nr. 7, S. 49-73
Zeitschriftenaufsatz / Fach: Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Ofer the past 50 years Germans have spent a rising share of their income on health and enjoyed substantially longer lives as a result. The rising health share can be explained by a standard economic model: As people get richer they purchase additional years of life and less additional consumption, provided that satiation occurs mor rapidly in non-health comsumption. The gains in life years incrasingly occur late in the lifespan. As a result the incremental cost-benefit ratio of health care deteriorates: marginal costs increase as the marginal productivity of medical inputs decreases in old age while marginal benefits decrease due to a rising hazard rate. On average, medical progress is worth it. Future income growth will further increase the health share, while population ageing will only marginally affect health care expenditures.