Do Spa Visits Improve Health: Evidence from German Micro Data
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.
alternative medicine, insurance, hospitalization, medical expenditures
Eastern Economic Journal
34 Eastern Econ. J. 364 (2008)