Ethics 130 (2):179-207 (2020)

Authors
Tyler John
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Joseph Millum
National Institutes of Health
Abstract
Waiting time is widely used in health and social policy to make resource allocation decisions, yet no general account of the moral significance of waiting time exists. We provide such an account. We argue that waiting time is not intrinsically morally significant, and that the first person in a queue for a resource does not ipso facto have a right to receive that resource first. However, waiting time can and sometimes should play a role in justifying allocation decisions. First, there is a duty of fairness prohibiting line-cutting where a sufficiently just queue exists. Second, waiting time has several morally attractive features that can justify its incorporation into allocation schemes. Where candidates are in relevantly similar circumstances, allocating by waiting time is relatively efficient, maximizes distribution equality relative to other Pareto efficient distributions, and treats candidates fairly. The claim that allocation using waiting time is fair is controversial. Some have claimed that formal lotteries are a fairer way to select among equal beneficiaries. We argue that lotteries are no fairer than allocation based on waiting time when it is equiprobable how a prospective queue will be ordered. In practice, lotteries share many of the disadvantages of queues; which is fairer will depend on contingent features of the allocation scenario. The upshot is that first-come, first-served is in fact a just way to allocate resources in many of the cases where it seems pre-theoretically compelling, and waiting time has unique normative properties which frequently justify its incorporation into resource allocation schemes.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2020
DOI 10.1086/705763
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Contractualism and Social Risk.Johann Frick - 2015 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 43 (3):175-223.
Fairness.John Broome - 1991 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 91:87 - 101.
Equality, Priority, and the Levelling-Down Objection.Larry Temkin - 2000 - In Matthew Clayton & Andrew Williams (eds.), The Ideal of Equality. Macmillan. pp. 126-61.

View all 8 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Fair Kidney Allocation Based on Waiting Time.Matthias Hild - 2001 - Analyse & Kritik 23 (2):173-190.
On Waiting.Harold Schweizer - 2008 - Routledge.
Nurse Time as a Scarce Health Care Resource.Donna Dickenson - 1994 - In Geoffrey Hunt (ed.), Ethical issues in nursing. London: Routledge. pp. 207-217.
Distributive Justice in Kidney Allocation.T. Schmidt - 2001 - Analyse & Kritik 23 (2):286-298.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2019-06-25

Total views
831 ( #7,154 of 2,454,504 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
157 ( #3,441 of 2,454,504 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes