Delay is Not the Answer: Waiting Time in Health Care & Income Redistribution

15 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2008

See all articles by Amedeo Fossati

Amedeo Fossati

Università degli Studi di Genova

Rosella Levaggi

University of Brescia - Department of Economics and Management

Abstract

In this paper, the use of delay as a tool to improve income redistribution is examined. We assume that people with the highest opportunity cost of waiting address their demand to the private market; if these, as we assume, are the one at the higher end of the income distribution, they contribute through the income tax, and pay for the private care they receive as well. Thus, public and private provision of health care, made mutually consistent within a utility-based approach by the presence of delay, may be used to modify income distribution. Our model modifies the results obtained by the current literature and shows that, when individual utilities are strictly quasi-concave and a Bergson-Samuelson welfare function is replaced to a cost-minimization framework, delay is no more welfare improving. The reason is that, even when an optimum delay exists, the correspondent social maximum is a local maximum. The scope for using delay is then confined to environments where the power to tax of Central Government is not sufficient to raise enough resources or where, due to tax evasion or high tax distortions, second best tax instruments should be used.

Keywords: Public health expenditure, Rationing by waiting list, Income redistribution

JEL Classification: I180, H510

Suggested Citation

Fossati, Amedeo and Levaggi, Rosella, Delay is Not the Answer: Waiting Time in Health Care & Income Redistribution. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1081928 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1081928

Amedeo Fossati

Università degli Studi di Genova ( email )

via Balbi 5
16126 Genova
Italy

Rosella Levaggi (Contact Author)

University of Brescia - Department of Economics and Management ( email )

Via San Faustino 74B
Brescia, 25122
Italy
+39 03 0298 8825 (Phone)
+39 03 0298 8837 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.eco.unibs.it/segdse/rlev/index.htm

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