The purpose of this article is to assess the degree of productive efficiency of public sector hospitals in 366 municipalities of the state in São Paulo between the years 1998 and 2003. In2003. In order to do so we use the stochastic frontier of production approach. The model is estimated using the flexible form of Fourier and uses the complement of the rate of hospital mortality as output and public spending with professionals and the number of beds per municipality as inputs. The results suggest that the most efficient municipalities are those that hire more beds in private hospitals, the ones which perform the highest number of admissions (economies of scale effect), the ones with smaller population (congestion effect), and the ones which show lower average time of hospitalization.
hospitals; efficiency; stochastic frontier; municipalities