Issues in Evaluating Equity

  • Mita Giacomini
  • Jeremiah Hurley

Equity entails the fair distribution of resources, whether these are health services, nutrients, education, or something else. When evaluating a health program, it is often important to understand the program’s impact not only in terms of the total benefits it has achieved (effectiveness), or its cost relative to these benefits (efficiency), but also how its benefits have been distributed amongst individuals or groups within the target community (equity). To evaluate equity, we must formulate what an ideal distribution of resources would look like. For example, we may want a program to narrow gaps in health between rural and urban communities, or to simply improve the health of the sickest children whatever its effects on others. Evaluation then assesses how well the program achieves the equity ideal. Another important role of equity evaluation is to investigate whether inequities were unintentionally created or exacerbated by the program.

Equity evaluation is appropriate when either...


Social Justice Relevant Difference Procedural Justice Policy Goal Health Inequity 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mita Giacomini
    • 1
  • Jeremiah Hurley
  1. 1.McMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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