The present paper tries to assess to what extent corruption affects the different performance dimension of the Italian regional health care systems (RHSs). The Italian case is relevant because, in the European context, Italy presents the widest sub-national variation in both the levels of performance and corruption. The research focuses on petty corruption, measured using data from the European Quality of Government Index Survey. Italian RHSs' performance data are from the Meridiano Sanità, and are divided into three areas of analysis: a) population health status; b) equity and promptness to meet health needs; c) quality and responsiveness of the system. Taken together the results demonstrate that petty corruption is negatively associated to population health status and to the quality and responsiveness of the system. On the contrary, with reference to equity and promptness to meet health needs, a significant negative correlation was found only with reference to the Center-North regions.
Keywords: Health care systems, Corruption, Regions, Informal payments, Performance.