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Front. Public Health | doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2018.00053

Measuring Geographic Inequalities: Dealing with Multiple Health Resources by Data Envelopment Analysis

  • 1Department of Econometrics, University of Economics, Prague, Czechia

The existence of geographic differences in health resources, health expenditures, the utilization of health services and health outcomes have been documented by a lot of studies from various countries of the world. In a publicly financed health system, equal access is one of the main objectives of the national health policy. That is why inequalities in the geographic allocation of health resources are an important health policy issue. Measures of inequality express the complexity of variation in the observed variable by a single number and there is a variety of inequality measures available. The objective of this study is to develop a measure of the geographic inequality in the case of multiple health resources. The measure uses data envelopment analysis, which is a non-parametric method of production function estimation, to transform multiple resources into a single virtual health resource. The study shows that the data envelopment analysis originally developed for measuring efficiency can be used successfully to measure inequality. For the illustrative purpose, the inequality measure is calculated for the Czech Republic. The values of separate Robin Hood Indexes are 6.64% for physicians and 3.96% for nurses. In the next step, we use combined Robin Hood Index for both health resources. Its value 5.06% takes into account that the combinations of two health resources serve regional populations.

Keywords: geographic inequality, Resource Allocation, Health Resources, data envelopment analysis, Czech Republic

Received: 08 Jan 2018; Accepted: 12 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Piotr Romaniuk, Medical University of Silesia, Poland

Reviewed by:

Zsófia Kollányi, Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary
Miroslav Žižka, Technical University of Liberec, Czechia  

Copyright: © 2018 Dlouhy. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mr. Martin Dlouhy, University of Economics, Prague, Department of Econometrics, 4 Winston Churchil Sq., Prague, 13067, Czechia,