The Notion of a Health Good in China and Elsewhere

  • Carine Milcent


Is the intervention of the state in the healthcare market legitimate and efficient? To answer this question, a clear definition of a health good and its implications is needed. Can we just apply the general definition of a public good for all health goods? Should we consider different types of health goods? If yes, how do we delimit the frontier between a public good and a private good? With a rapid glance at the diversity of organizations in the healthcare system that exist in the world, it appears there is little consensus on what can and should be defined as a public good. Generally speaking, all countries have a mixed health system, combining pro-market elements with welfare state safeguards, and China is no exception: all reforms of the healthcare system implemented since the 1980s have swung between both. To understand the Chinese health system and its recent evolution, we need to start by defining the global framework in which the “health good” is set.


Health good Public good and private good Competition Price elasticity Healthcare 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carine Milcent
    • 1
  1. 1.CNRS and Paris School of Economics (PSE)ParisFrance

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