Do Spa Visits Improve Health: Evidence from German Micro Data
20 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2004
Date Written: April 2007
The health benefits of spas have been hypothesized for centuries. If this hypothesis is correct, spa therapy offers a low cost alternative to more expensive and potentially more invasive medical treatments for ailments such as back pain and arthritis. We use individual-level panel data to isolate the effect of spa therapy on missed work days and hospital visits in Germany. Simple correlations suggest a self-selection bias - spa visits are associated with increased absenteeism and hospitalization. However, when we exploit the longitudinal nature of the data, we find that spa therapy leads to a statistically significant reduction in both absenteeism and hospitalization, though it is not clear if these health benefits justify the cost of spa therapy.
Keywords: alternative medicine, insurance, hospitalization, medical expenditures
JEL Classification: H51, I12, I18, J32, K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation