The Sisyphus Syndrome in Health Revisited

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Abstract

Health care may be similar to Sisyphus work: When the task is about to be completed, work has to start all over again. To see the analogy, consider an initial decision to allocate more resources to health. The likely consequence is an increased number of survivors, who will exert additional demand for health care. With more resources allocated to health, the cycle starts over again. The objective of this paper is to improve on earlier research that failed to find evidence of a Sisyphus syndrome in industrialized countries. This time, there are signs of such a cycle, which however seems to have faded away recently.