Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #888

Planning Health Care Capacities with a Gravity Equation

by Danny Wende, Thomas Kopetsch and Wolfram F. Richter

TUD, 12/2020, 33 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-96973-027-0 DOI: 10.4419/969730270



The planning of health care capacities is in practice constrained by sectoral and regional boundaries and it remains difficult to ensure an adequate and even access to health care. Moreover, standard planning approaches lack the choice-theoretic grounding necessary for making reliable statements about the demand for health care. This paper presents a model based on the idea of gravity in supply and demand linkages and designed to overcome such shortcomings. Empirical estimation equations are derived for the size of catchment areas, the spatial access to health care and the demand for specialist treatment. The floating catchment area (FCA) method commonly used to measure access to care is shown to be a special, yet often misleading case. This is demonstrated by the example of Germany, where rural areas are shown to suffer from access deficits.

JEL-Classification: H72, I18, D58, C3

Keywords: Health care capacity planning; choice-theoretic foundation; gravity equation; spatial multiple equation model