Dental Care on Equal Terms? An empirical study of price levels, consumption and competition on the Swedish dental care market
The Swedish dental care law states as an objective that dental care shall be easily accessible and given on equal conditions for the entire population. In this study we use data on consumption and actual prices charged for six different dental treatments for the years 2009-2011, collected by The Swedish Social Insurance Agency, to investigate if this is the case. Results show that dental care consumption differ significantly, where inhabitants in Småland and Stockholm consume about 80 percent more standard examinations than inhabitants in Norrland. We further show that there is non-trivial price disparity between areas; median prices of the most common treatment package differ as much as 30% between the areas at the 10th and 90th percentile. We also find strong evidence for competitive distortions in the market as price increases with the number of producers. Lastly, we find that the public dental services, whose prices are set by politicians at each County Council, have a price leading role in each county, which suggests that there is in fact a great deal of competition between private and public.
MSc in Economics