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Rationalizing Waiting Times in Health Care Delivery: An International Comparison - Governare i tempi di attesa in sanità: un confronto internazionale Comparison -


  • Testi, Angela

    () (Università degli Studi di Genova, Dipartimento di Economia e Metodi Quantitativi)


In health care delivery, waiting lists are perceived to reflect the inadequacy of health care funding. They are portrayed as one of the major problems of publicly funded health systems and are a perpetual source of community and political discomfort. It appears that a trade-off between efficiency (waits as a rationing tool in absence of price) and equity (free access to everyone is in need) arises. Recent international experiences referred to elective surgery suggest to implement demand-side policies instead of supply-side ones. This means recognizing that the free package the citizens are entitled to should comprehend services to be delivered not immediately, but according to individual urgency (horizontal equity) and respecting priority as well, that is ordering access (vertical equity). It is essential, in fact, that those who have the greatest need for surgery and will benefit most from it receive it in a timely manner and before those with lesser need. Results are still under debate and future research is required. -

Suggested Citation

  • Testi, Angela, 2012. "Rationalizing Waiting Times in Health Care Delivery: An International Comparison - Governare i tempi di attesa in sanità: un confronto internazionale Comparison -," Economia Internazionale / International Economics, Camera di Commercio Industria Artigianato Agricoltura di Genova, vol. 65(1), pages 189-201.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:ecoint:0645

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Siciliani, Luigi & Hurst, Jeremy, 2005. "Tackling excessive waiting times for elective surgery: a comparative analysis of policies in 12 OECD countries," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 201-215, May.
    2. Tony Culyer, 1991. "Health, health expenditures and equity," Working Papers 083chedp, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.
    3. Lindsay, Cotton M & Feigenbaum, Bernard, 1984. "Rationing by Waiting Lists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 404-417, June.
    4. Mullen, Penelope M., 2003. "Prioritising waiting lists: how and why?," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 150(1), pages 32-45, October.
    5. Luigi Siciliani & Rossella Verzulli, 2009. "Waiting times and socioeconomic status among elderly Europeans: evidence from SHARE," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(11), pages 1295-1306.
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    More about this item


    Waiting List; Efficiency and Equity Evaluation; Elective Surgery; Prioritization;

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health


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