Skip to main content

Regional Quantity, Productivity and Efficiency Measures of the Swiss Health Care System


In Switzerland, there are substantial cantonal differences in per capita cost of the mandatory health care system. The present paper breaks these differences down into price and quantity effects revealing both, a large quantity and a somewhat smaller price variance across cantons. As a statistical fact, a positive correlation of price and quantity index results.

Dividing the inferred quantity output index by a corresponding input index yields a measure of total factor productivity. While the canton of Zurich exhibits the highest productivity, the measures in Geneva, Neuchâtel, Berne and Vaud are far below average.

Finally, a data envelopment analysis of hospital services shows little evidence for variable returns to scale implying that low productivities are, for the most part, due to pure technological slacks.


  • Afonso, Antonio, Ludger Schuknecht and Vito Tanzi (2005), “Public Sector Efficiency: An International Comparison”, Public Choice, 123, pp. 321–347.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Afonso, Antonio and Miguel St. Aubyn (2005), “Non-Parametric Approaches to Education and Health Efficiency in OECD Countries”, Journal of Applied Economics, Vol. VIII, No. 2, pp. 227–246.

    Google Scholar 

  • Federal Statistical Office, Nettofinanzbedarf der Kantone und Gemeinden für die Krankenhäuser, 2004 and 2005.

  • Federal Statistical Office, Schweizerische Lohnstrukturerhebung, 2004.

  • Federal Statistical Office, Krankenhausstatistik und Statistik der sozialmedizinischen Institutionen, 2004 and 2005.

  • Coelli, Timothy J., D. S. Prasada Rao, Christopher J. O’Donnell and George E. Battese (2005), An Introduction to Efficiency and Productivity Analysis, second edition, Springer, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  • Etches, Vera, John Frank, Erica Di Ruggiero and Doug Manuel (2006), “Measuring Poulation Health”, Annual Review Public Health, 27, pp. 29–55.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Filippini, Massimo and Mehdi Farsi (2004), “An Analysis of Efficiency and Productivity in Swiss Hospitals”, Final Report to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office and the Swiss Federal Office for Social Security.

  • Hill, Robert J. (1997), “A Taxonomy of Multilateral Methods for Making International Comparisons of Prices and Quantities”, Review of Income and Wealth, Series 43, No. 1, pp. 49–69.

  • Schleiniger, Reto, Tilman Slembeck and Jonas Blöchliger (2007), „Bestimmung und Erklärung der kantonalen Mengenindizes der OKP-Leistungen”, Zürcher Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften,

  • Steinmann, Lukas and Peter Zweifel (2003), “On the (In)Efficiency of Swiss Hospitals”, Applied Economics, 35, pp. 361–370.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Additional information

I am grateful to Jonas Blöchliger for the professional data handling.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License ( ), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Schleiniger, R. Regional Quantity, Productivity and Efficiency Measures of the Swiss Health Care System. Swiss J Economics Statistics 144, 459–476 (2008).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • D24
  • I12


  • price and quantity indices
  • productivity and efficiency measures
  • health care