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Equity and Efficiency in the Allocation of the Personal Social Services*

  • A. C. Bebbington and Bleddyn Davies


This paper investigates two issues of equity in the receipt of the home help service, one about territorial justice, the other about sex discrimination. It uses GHS data for 1980. An argument is developed about the efficiency with which services are targeted on persons who by normative criteria would appear to have most need of them. Efficiency is of two types: horizontal efficiency, the proportion of persons judged in need who receive services; and vertical efficiency, the proportion of services allocated to persons judged in need. The findings are that there is evidence of inequity both between different areas and between the sexes. Metropolitan areas are advantaged compared with rural areas, and this cannot be explained by differences in social support nor by the availability of other domiciliary services. Among the elderly living alone, neither sex is advantaged, but in elderly married couple households the home help service is more frequently provided in the case of a husband caring for a disabled wife than in the case of a wife caring for a disabled husband.



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