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Prices and Protocols in Public Health Care

By Hammer, Jeffrey S.

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Book Id: WPLBN0000231024
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 0.2 MB
Reproduction Date: 2005
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Title: Prices and Protocols in Public Health Care  
Author: Hammer, Jeffrey S.
Language: English
Subject: Economics, Finance & business, World Bank.
Collections: Economics Publications Collection
Publication Date:
Publisher: The World Bank


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Hammer, J. S. (n.d.). Prices and Protocols in Public Health Care. Retrieved from


Providers of health care in public clinics in the developing world work with tight budgets, requiring difficult choices. This article examines a few ways to make these choices using standard tools of economic analysis. It does not pretend to be a comprehensive treatment but does raise some core issues concerning the best use of public funds in health care. The standard method characterizes optimal allocations by posing the problem: how can the government maximize a given objective subject to constraints? The answer depends on the choice of objective and the characterization of the constraints. Economists generally like to use social welfare or the sum of peoples? utilities as defined by their own preferences as the objective in such a problem. Often, they weight this sum by peoples? income so as to give more influence to the well-being of the poor. In the context of the health sector, this objective is somewhat problematic because people may not be able to define their preferences due to lack of information about the nature of health under different diseases or the likelihood that a treatment will succeed. Using the standard approach requires making some monetary valuation of health, which may be difficult, especially if people?s demand functions for care are not believed to give true valuations.


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