Reviewed by Josefien van Olmen
This article is a helpful contribution to methodology in health systems research. The sessions on methodology and readers for health systems research during that Montreux symposium showed a strong desire from Di MacIntyre and her team – and colleagues from South Africa and London to enlarge our knowledge about research methodology in this field. In this paper, MacIntire explains us the method Cost-Benefit Analysis, which has traditionally been used by institutes like the World Bank to calculate whether subsidies and government spending has benefited the poor, and how it can be used to assess how well the health system performs in distributing its benefits among the poor. The language of the paper is very clear and of didactic value. Nevertheless, it is a difficult paper to read for somebody without a solid base of health economic knowledge, like myself. But that can only be a challenge for eager researchers and students, open to learn new tools to do research on equity in health systems.