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Quality incentives in a regulated market with imperfect information and switching costs: capitation in general practice

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  • Gravelle, Hugh
  • Masiero, Giuliano

Abstract

We model a system akin to the British National Health Service in which general practictioners (GPs) are paid from general taxation. GPs are horizontally and vertically differentiated and compete via their imperfect observed quality. We focus on the way in which patient uncertainty and switching costs interact and the implications for GP's choice of quality. We show that for any given capitation fee quality is lower and the incentive effects of the fee on quality are smaller. There are diminishing welfare gains from improving consumers information but increasing welfare gains from reducing switching costs. GPs do not act efficiently to improve consumer information via advertising or to reduce the costs of switching.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 19 (2000)
Issue (Month): 6 (November)
Pages: 1067-1088

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:19:y:2000:i:6:p:1067-1088

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

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  1. Wolinsky, Asher, 1986. "True Monopolistic Competition as a Result of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 101(3), pages 493-511, August.
  2. Schmalensee, Richard, 1982. "Product Differentiation Advantages of Pioneering Brands," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 349-65, June.
  3. Nilssen, T., 1990. "Two Kinds of Consumer Switching Costs," Papers, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration- 12-90, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration-.
  4. Helmut Bester, 1998. "Quality Uncertainty Mitigates Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(4), pages 828-844, Winter.
  5. Steven C. Salop, 1979. "Monopolistic Competition with Outside Goods," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 141-156, Spring.
  6. Riordan, Michael H, 1986. "Monopolistic Competition with Experience Goods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 101(2), pages 265-79, May.
  7. Gravelle, Hugh, 1999. "Capitation contracts: access and quality," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 315-340, June.
  8. Wolinsky, Asher, 1984. "Product Differentiation with Imperfect Information," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 53-61, January.
  9. Klemperer, Paul, 1995. "Competition When Consumers Have Switching Costs: An Overview with Applications to Industrial Organization, Macroeconomics, and International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 515-39, October.
  10. Economides, Nicholas, 1993. "Quality variations in the circular model of variety-differentiated products," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 235-257, April.
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