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Prison Health Care: Is Contracting Out Healthy?

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Author Info

  • Bedard, Kelly
  • Frech, Ted E

Abstract

U.S Prison health care has recently been in the news and in the courts. A particular issue is whether prisons should contract out for health care. Contracting out has been growing over the past few decades. The stated motivation for this change ranges from a desire to improve the prison health care system, sometimes in response to a court mandate, to a desire to reduce costs. This study is a first attempt to quantify the impact of this change on inmate health. As morbidity measures are not readily obtainable, we focus on mortality. More specifically, we use a panel of state prisons from 1979-1990 and a fixed effects Poisson model to estimate the change in mortality associated with increases in the percentage of medical personnel employed under contract. In contrast to the first stated aim of contracting, we find that a 20 percent increase in percentage of medical personnel employed under contract increases mortality by 2 percent.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara in its series University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series with number qt6vh3429f.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt6vh3429f

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Related research

Keywords: prison health care; contracts; managed care; outcomes; mortality;

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  1. Andrei Shleifer, 1998. "State Versus Private Ownership," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1841, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Boardman, Anthony E & Vining, Aidan R, 1989. "Ownership and Performance in Competitive Environments: A Comparison of the Performance of Private, Mixed, and State-Owned Enterprises," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 1-33, April.
  3. Ehrlich, Isaac & Georges Gallais-Hamonno & Zhiqiang Liu & Randall Lutter, 1994. "Productivity Growth and Firm Ownership: An Analytical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 1006-38, October.
  4. Frech, H E, III, 1976. "The Property Rights Theory of the Firm: Empirical Results from a Natural Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(1), pages 143-52, February.
  5. Lawrence Katz & Steven D. Levitt & Ellen Shustorovich, 2003. "Prison Conditions, Capital Punishment, and Deterrence," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(2), pages 318-343, August.
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Cited by:
  1. McClellan, Chandler & Tekin, Erdal, 2012. "Stand Your Ground Laws and Homicides," IZA Discussion Papers 6705, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Spagnolo, Giancarlo & Bergman, Mats A. & Lundberg, Sofia, 2012. "Privatization and Quality: Evidence from Elderly Care in Sweden," SITE Working Paper Series 19, Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics, Stockholm School of Economics.
  3. Andersson, Fredrik & Jordahl, Henrik, 2011. "Outsourcing Public Services: Ownership, Competition, Quality and Contracting," Working Paper Series 874, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  4. Chandler B. McClellan & Erdal Tekin, 2012. "Stand Your Ground Laws, Homicides, and Injuries," NBER Working Papers 18187, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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