Geographic Differences in Hospital Waiting Times

17 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2012

See all articles by Meliyanni Johar

Meliyanni Johar

University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

Glenn Jones

Macquarie University

Michael P. Keane

University of New South Wales

Date Written: June 2012


Access to elective surgery in Australian public hospitals is rationed using waiting lists. In this article, we undertake a DiNardo–Fortin–Lemieux reweighting approach to attribute variation in waiting time to clinical need or to discrimination. Using data from NSW public patients in 2004–2005, we find the discrimination effect dominates clinical need especially in the upper tail of the waiting time distribution. We find evidence of favourable treatment of patients who reside in remote areas and discrimination in favour of patients residing in particular Area Health Services. These findings have policy implications for the design of equitable quality targets for public hospitals.

JEL Classification: I11, J7, H51

Suggested Citation

Johar, Meliyanni and Jones, Glenn and Keane, Michael P., Geographic Differences in Hospital Waiting Times (June 2012). Economic Record, Vol. 88, Issue 281, pp. 165-181, 2012, Available at SSRN: or

Meliyanni Johar (Contact Author)

University of Technology Sydney (UTS) ( email )

15 Broadway, Ultimo
+61 2 9514 7742 (Phone)
+61 2 9514 7711 (Fax)

Glenn Jones

Macquarie University ( email )

North Ryde
Sydney, New South Wales 2109
61 2 98508500 (Phone)
61 2 98508586 (Fax)

Michael P. Keane

University of New South Wales ( email )

Sydney, NSW

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