Working paper

Allocating Vote: Health - 'Needs Assessment' and an Economics-Based Approach (WP 00/04)

Authors: Nancy Devlin and Paul Hansen


This paper critiques 'needs assessment' as a basis for allocating public funding of health and disability services and discusses an alternative economics-based approach. In essence, the former approach ignores the effects on health outcomes of health care spending at the margin while the latter focuses explicitly on these considerations. A simple diagrammatic model is introduced that illustrates at a conceptual level the (micro)economic constraints and choices available to policy-makers. Finally, some practical steps and unresolved issues in implementing the economics approach are considered.