OECD Health Working Papers

This series is designed to make available to a wider readership health studies prepared for use within the OECD. Authorship is usually collective, but principal writers are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language - English or French - with a summary in the other.

English, French

An OECD analysis of health spending in Norway

Norway is one of the top spenders on health care among OECD countries in per capita terms but much closer to the average when seen as a share of GDP. The question is to what extent these two key measures are compatible, and how Norway really measures up to other relevant high-income countries in health spending. In considering the latter, Norway allocates more to long-term care services than any other country. So how comparable are countries in the measurement of sectors such as long-term care and does this play a key role in determining overall spending estimates?

Delving further, how does spending on the key sector of somatic specialist health care compared to other countries? If too much is spent, there is a risk that there is an over-emphasis on hospitals compared to primary care. On the other hand if there are too little resources in hospitals, there may be an over-expectation from the sector. However, estimates of spending based on inpatient care still mask a number of organisational and accounting differences, requiring adjustments to be made to the underlying figures. The resulting figures provide a new insight into cross-country comparisons and trends of somatic hospital spending.

Finally, to determine what is explaining the different levels of spending, the appropriate use of international spatial deflators is discussed. Recent advances in the methodology to compile comparative price information for the health and hospital sectors are used to reveal to what extent spending across the comparator countries is the result of price or volume effects.


Keywords: health spending, health care
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