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The Challenge of Obtaining Quality Care: Limited Consumer Sovereignty in Human Services

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  • Kari Eika
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    This paper offers a conceptual analysis of the problem of quality in human services: in elementary school, psychiatric care, and the health and social care of children, the elderly, and the intellectually disabled. Geriatric nursing home patients are used as a case. These care recipients cannot enforce their legal right to quality service; their quality-effective demand is low. Formal economic analyses often characterize the weak position of the care recipient as an information asymmetry problem. An additional obstacle, however, is the recipient's inability to safeguard her personal interest due to physical, mental, or social incapacities; that is, “limited consumer sovereignty.” Incapacitated individuals cannot enforce quality even when quality information is available. This creates a fundamental incentive problem in the monitoring of quality. They also depend on services that are complex and non-verifiable, making external monitoring difficult. This paper presents a typology of measures to increase the quality pressure facing providers.

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    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Feminist Economics.

    Volume (Year): 15 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 113-137

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:15:y:2009:i:1:p:113-137
    DOI: 10.1080/13545700802446658
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