An Index of Household Accessibility to Basic Services: A Study of Italian Regions
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The level of accessibility to basic services is an important issue because it is closely related to social inclusion and social capital, key aspects of societal well-being. There is a large and growing literature on access to health care in an era of dwindling public resources due to recent economic downturns. Health care is an essential service, but it is not the only basic service. The literature on access to basic services including, but not limited to, health care is relatively small. The paper aims at contributing to the literature by providing a new index to measure and monitor household accessibility to basic services. A study of Italian regions is presented. It is shown that northern regions have more accessible basic services than central, southern and island regions. A longitudinal comparison has been performed. The results are very worrying because show that policy makers have failed in reducing regional (and in particular north–south) disparities in basic service accessibility. Measuring and monitoring the level of accessibility is central for an adequate provision of basic services and for exploring how the delivery of basic services in the most problematic regions can be improved.