Evaluating 'success' in programme budgeting and marginal analysis: a literature review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article



Objectives: Programme budgeting and marginal analysis (PBMA) is a priority-setting toolkit which aims to assist decision-makers in identifying the most efficient use of resources. The last systematic literature review on PBMA was published in 2001 and evaluated success in applying PBMA using the criteria of 'reallocation of resources' or the 'setting of priorities'. Our objective was to re-evaluate applications of PBMA in terms of these criteria separately, summarize different evaluation methods of PBMA and extend the above review by considering all PBMA applications since 2001. Methods: Systematic literature review. Information was sought from four general medical electronic databases. Descriptive statistics and content analysis were used. Results: PBMA was successful in 52% of cases when success was defined in terms of the participants gaining a better understanding of the area under interest; in 65% of cases when success was defined as 'implementation of all or some of the advisory panel's recommendations'; in 48% of the studies when success was defined in terms of disinvesting or resource reallocation; and in 22% when success was defined in terms of adopting the framework for future use. Conclusions: The rate of success is clearly influenced by how success is defined. There is a need for a broadly accepted definition of success to be used when evaluating PBMA applications so to enable direct comparisons of studies. This evaluatory component needs to be adjacent to PBMA and not a separate procedure. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy Vol 16 No 3, 2011: 177-183 (C) The Royal Society of Medicine Press Ltd 2011


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-183
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Health Services Research & Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011