Modeling Interregional Patient Mobility: Theory and Evidence from Spatially Explicit Data

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  • Michael Irlacher
  • Dieter Pennerstorfer
  • Anna Theresa Renner
  • Florian Unger

This article provides theory and evidence on the spatial determinants of regional patient flows. We develop a theoretical model that explains a patient's choice to consult a general practitioner by a measure of spatial accessibility. We empirically test this gravity-type model using regional patient flows and detailed data on the spatial distribution of residents and physicians in Austria. Our measure of spatial accessibility is a crucial determinant of patient flows that substantially increases the explanatory power of regular gravity models. Counterfactual simulations show heterogeneous effects of exiting physicians on health-care accessibility and patient mobility.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Economic Review
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1493-1532
Number of pages40
Publication statusPublished - 11.2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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© 2023 The Authors. International Economic Review published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of the Economics Department of the University of Pennsylvania and the Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association.