The empirical analysis dealt in this paper emphasizes on the impact of military expenditures on out of pocket (OOP) healthcare payments. A sizeable body of defence economics literature has investigated the trade-off between military and public health expenditure, by testing the crowding-out or growth-stimulating hypothesis; does military expenditure scaling up crowd-out or promote governmental resources for social and welfare programs, including also state health financing?
In this study, panel data from 2000 to 2018 for 129 countries is used to examine the impact of military expenditure on OOP healthcare payments. The dataset of countries is categorized into four income-groups based on World Bank's income-group classification. Dynamic panel data methodology is applied to meet study objectives.
The findings of this study indicate that military expenditure positively affects OOP payments in all the selected groups of countries, strongly supporting in this way the crowding-out hypothesis whereby increased military expenditure reduces the public financing on health. Study econometric results are robust since different and alternative changes in specifications and samples are applied in our analysis.
Under the economic downturn backdrop for several economies in the previous decade and on the foreground of a potential limited governmental fiscal space related to the Covid-19 pandemic adverse economic effects, this study provides evidence that policy-makers have to adjust their government policy initiatives and prioritize Universal Health Coverage objectives. Consequently, the findings of this study reflect the necessity of governments as far as possible to moderate military expenditures and increase public financing on health in order to strengthen health care systems efficiency against households OOP spending for necessary healthcare utilization.
Despite the fact that a sizeable body of defence economics literature has extensively examined the impact of military spending on total and public health expenditures, nevertheless to the best of our knowledge there is no empirical evidence of any direct effect of national defence spending on the main private financing component of health systems globally; the OOP healthcare payments.
The authors wish to show our appreciation to Prof. Dr. Dimitrios Kirikos (Dept. of Accounting and Finance, Hellenic Mediterranean University) for his valuable comments and suggestions for helping us finalize this paper.
Grigorakis, N. and Galyfianakis, G. (2023), "The impact of military expenditures on out of pocket healthcare payments: international evidence based on a dynamic panel data analysis", EuroMed Journal of Business, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 270-295. https://doi.org/10.1108/EMJB-01-2022-0004
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