Public health spending is low in emerging and developing economies
relative to advanced economies and health outputs and outcomes need
to be substantially improved. Simply increasing public expenditure
in the health sector, however, may not significantly affect health
outcomes if the efficiency of this spending is low. This paper
quantifies the inefficiency of public health expenditure and the
associated potential gains for emerging and developing economies
using a stochastic frontier model that controls for the
socioeconomic determinants of health, and provides country-specific
estimates. The results suggest that African economies have the
lowest efficiency. At current spending levels, they could boost
life expectancy up to about five years if they followed best
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