Non-Price Rationing and Waiting Times

Tor Iversen and Luigi Siciliani

in The Oxford Handbook of Health Economics

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199238828
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Economics

 Non-Price Rationing and Waiting Times

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  • Economics
  • Health, Education, and Welfare
  • Public Economics


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This article examines the implications of using waiting times, rather than co-payments, as a rationing device. It discusses theoretical issues, empirical and policy issues, and the meaning of an optimal waiting time. The theoretical part includes theories concentrating on the demand side and the supply side. The empirical part contains studies on the implied cost of waiting from market data and estimates of demand and supply elasticities. This article states that in the absence of an over-arching welfare analysis both empirical work and policy recommendations are inevitably piecemeal and open to debate. It also describes the relationship between waiting times and the private sector. It investigates the effectiveness of different policy instruments. Finally, it suggests issues for future research.

Keywords: waiting times; co-payments; rationing device; supply elasticities; private sector

Article.  10107 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Health, Education, and Welfare ; Public Economics

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