In 2010-2012 new outpatient service locations were established in Hungarian micro-regions, which had lacked such capacities before. We exploit this quasi-experiment to estimate the effect of geographical accessibility on outpatient case numbers using both individual-level and semi-aggregate panel data. We find a 24-27 per cent increase of case numbers as a result of the establishments. Our specialty-by-specialty estimates imply that a one-minute reduction of travel time to the nearest outpatient unit increases case numbers e.g. by 0.9 per cent in internal care and 3.1 per cent in rheumatology. The size of the new outpatient capacities has a separate effect, raising the possibility of the presence of supplier-induced demand. By combining a fixed-effects logit and a fixed-effects truncated Poisson estimator, we decompose the effects into increases in the probability of ever visiting a doctor on the one hand and an increase of the frequency of visits on the other. We find that new visits were dominant in the vast majority of specialties, whereas both margins were important e.g. in rheumatology. Finally, we demonstrate the usefulness of the fixed-effects truncated Poisson estimator in modelling count data by examining its robustness by simulations.
Fixed-effects truncated Poisson regression Hurdle models on count data Number of doctor visits Small area variation Supplier-induced demand