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The Efficiency of Health Production: Re-estimating the WHO Panel Data using Parametric and Non-parametric Approaches to Provide Additional Information

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Bruce Hollingsworth, Professor John WildmanORCiD


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The World Health Report 2000 focuses on the performance of health-care systems around the globe. The report uses efficiency measurement techniques to create a league table of health-care systems, highlighting good and bad performers. Efficiency is measured using panel data methods. This paper suggests that the WHO's estimation procedure is too narrow and that contextual information is hidden by the use of one method. This paper uses and validates a range of parametric and non-parametric empirical methods to measure efficiency using the WHO data. The rankings obtained are compared to the WHO league table and we demonstrate that there are trends and movements of interest within the league tables. We recommend that the WHO broaden its range of techniques in order to reveal this hidden information.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hollingsworth B, Wildman J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Health Economics

Year: 2003

Volume: 12

Issue: 6

Pages: 493-504

ISSN (print): 1057-9230

ISSN (electronic): 1099-1050

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


DOI: 10.1002/hec.751

Notes: Health economics is a top ranked health economics journal and a top ranked economics journal (ISS rankings). This paper reconsiders the models estimated by the WHO in ranking health services. It was widely cited within the WHO.


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