Author: Alice Sanwald
In the thesis, we examine selected aspects of three important fields of health policy corresponding to the optimal production of health, health care services and to our understanding of health care financing. In the first part of the thesis, we perform a meta-analysis to provide new quantitative evidence on the relationship between characteristics of atypical employment contracts and various indicators of the individual health status. Summary findings of the applied random effects model reveal much higher risks of general/mental health complaints for atypical employees, a worse health-related behavior and a much stronger risk of going to work despite being ill. The heterogeneity of the effect sizes depends on country characteristics, health outcome indicators and methodological issues of the data gathering process. The second part of the thesis analyzes to what extend a broad set of socio-economic and socio-demographic covariates of private households influences the patterns of out-of-pocket health expenditures (OOPHE) in Austria. Overall, the two-part model shows that the probability and intensity level of OOPHE increase with the household size and the level of education, while household income and public insurances show mixed results on both stages. Additionally, a complementary relationship between the private health insurance and OOPHE is examined. In the last part, we analyze mortality effects, treatment and follow-up costs of patients with an acute myocardial infarction using administrative data from Austria. In an instrumental variable framework, we examine that the initial admission to catheterization hospitals increases patient's survival chance substantially and patients with previous cardiovascular diseases show the strongest mortality reduction in absolute terms. Taking in- and outpatient costs into account, the results suggest that an admission to catheterization hospitals is highly cost-effective.