PURE, WHITE AND DEADLY … EXPENSIVE: A BITTER SWEETNESS IN HEALTH CARE EXPENDITURE

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Abstract

This paper analyses the impact of sugar availability/intake on diabetes expenditure and on total health care expenditure. Building this macroeconomic analysis upon the literature on the determinants of health care expenditure, we estimate a dynamic panel data model over a sample of 156 countries for the period 1995–2014. After controlling for the traditional determinants of health care spending, we find that an increase in sugar availability/intake leads to a significant rise in diabetes expenditure (per capita and per diabetic) and in the growth rate of total health care expenditure per capita. Moreover, we show that this causal relation is present in both developed and developing countries.

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