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Systemic healthcare failure as a symptom of market failure in Sierra Leone


  • Jackson, Emerson Abraham


This article provides an examination of market failure, focusing on the health service system (HSS) in Sierra Leone. Market failure in the country’s HSS is a real concern, and has gone unchecked for decades by successive governments. In view of the prevailing conditions, it is noted that government failure is to be blamed for poor conditions experienced in the health sector. The issue of squeezed funding for management of the HSS must be revisited in order to address critical health concerns in the country. Most important to this is the continued rent-seeking that health professionals have thrived on as a free-riding venture, increasing their profit share, while (non-deliberately) depriving the poor and needy of affordable services in state-funded hospitals and healthcare centres. While rent-seeking has been on the rise, conditions of service have fallen behind those needed for health professionals to maintain a decent standard of living, hence the need for government to intervene to mitigate its continuing failure in the country’s HSS.

Suggested Citation

  • Jackson, Emerson Abraham, 2019. "Systemic healthcare failure as a symptom of market failure in Sierra Leone," MPRA Paper 96767, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:96767

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hanlon, Joseph, 2005. "Is the International Community Helping to Recreate the Pre-Conditions for War in Sierra Leone?," WIDER Working Paper Series 050, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    2. R. G. Lipsey & Kelvin Lancaster, 1956. "The General Theory of Second Best," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 11-32.
    3. Thierry Verdier & Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "The Choice between Market Failures and Corruption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 194-211, March.
    4. Robert W. Turner, 2002. "Market Failures and the Rationale for National Parks," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(4), pages 347-356, December.
    5. Stubbs, Thomas & Kentikelenis, Alexander & Stuckler, David & McKee, Martin & King, Lawrence, 2017. "The impact of IMF conditionality on government health expenditure: A cross-national analysis of 16 West African nations," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 174(C), pages 220-227.
    6. Stefania Albanesi, 2001. "Inflation and Inequality," LIS Working papers 323, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
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    More about this item


    Market Failure; Government Failure; Health Care; Sierra Leone;

    JEL classification:

    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • Q30 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - General

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