The relationship between socioeconomic status and waiting time among elderly men in Norway
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We investigate whether socioeconomic status affects hospital waiting times for elderly men when controls for severity and supply/choice variables are included. Socioeconomic status is measured by small area level education. We estimate a series of regressions explaining waiting time as a function of education level. We find that patients of different socioeconomic status are treated differently when only fixed effects for birth year is included. When we control for medical condition the effect increases and is large: male patients with tertiary education wait 48 % shorter than other patients. When we include fixed effects for local hospital, the estimated effect on waiting time of tertiary education falls from 48 % to 30 %. Thus, the negative correlation between waiting time and education level across local hospitals explain a little more than one third of the educational gradient in waiting time, whereas variation between the waiting time and education level across patients within local hospitals explain about almost two thirds of the gradient. When we analyse the educational gradient within local hospitals we find that travel distance and the quality of primary health care explain the gradient. Hence, we do not find evidence of discrimination against elderly men without tertiary education.