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Hospital competition with soft budgets

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Abstract

We study the incentives for hospitals to provide quality and expend cost-reducing effort when their budgets are soft, i.e., the payer may cover deficits or confiscate surpluses. The basic set up is a Hotelling model with two hospitals that differ in location and face demand uncertainty, where the hospitals run deficits (surpluses) in the high (low) demand state. Softer budgets reduce cost efficiency, while the effect on quality is ambiguous. For given cost efficiency, softer budgets increase quality since parts of the expenditures may be covered by the payer. However, softer budgets reduce cost-reducing effort and the profit margin, which in turn weakens quality incentives. We also find that profit confiscation reduces quality and cost-reducing effort. First best is achieved by a strict no-bailout and no-profit-confiscation policy when the regulated price is optimally set. However, for suboptimal prices a more lenient bailout policy can be welfare improving.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by NIPE - Universidade do Minho in its series NIPE Working Papers with number 04/2012.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nip:nipewp:04/2012

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Keywords: Hospital competition; Soft budgets; Quality; Cost efficiency;

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  1. Kornai, Janos, 2001. "Hardening the budget constraint: The experience of the post-socialist countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(9), pages 1573-1599, October.
  2. Mark Duggan, 2000. "Hospital Ownership and Public Medical Spending," NBER Working Papers 7789, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Janos Kornai & Eric Maskin & Gerard Roland, 2002. "Understanding the Soft Budget Constraint," Economics Working Papers 0019, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  4. János Kornai, 2009. "The soft budget constraint syndrome in the hospital sector," International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 117-135, June.
  5. Oliver Hart & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1996. "The Proper Scope of Government: Theory and an Application to Prisons," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1778, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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  7. Brekke, Kurt R. & Siciliani, Luigi & Straume, Odd Rune, 2008. "Competition and waiting times in hospital markets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1607-1628, July.
  8. Kurt R. Brekke & Luigi Siciliani & Odd Rune Straume, 2011. "Hospital Competition and Quality with Regulated Prices," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 113, pages 444-469, 06.
  9. Eggleston, Karen, 2008. "Soft budget constraints and the property rights theory of ownership," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 100(3), pages 425-427, September.
  10. Kurt R. Brekke & Robert Nuscheler & Odd Rune Straume, 2005. "Gatekeeping in Health Care," CESifo Working Paper Series 1552, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Hughes, David & McGuire, Alistair, 2003. "Stochastic demand, production responses and hospital costs," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 999-1010, November.
  12. Kurt R. Brekke & Robert Nuscheler & Odd Rune Straume, 2006. "Quality and Location Choices under Price Regulation," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 207-227, 03.
  13. Hagen, Terje P. & Kaarboe, Oddvar M., 2006. "The Norwegian hospital reform of 2002: Central government takes over ownership of public hospitals," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 320-333, May.
  14. Brekke, Kurt R. & Siciliani, Luigi & Straume, Odd Rune, 2012. "Quality competition with profit constraints," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 642-659.
  15. Eggleston, Karen & Shen, Yu-Chu, 2011. "Soft budget constraints and ownership: Empirical evidence from US hospitals," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 110(1), pages 7-11, January.
  16. Yu-Chu Shen & Karen Eggleston, 2009. "The effect of soft budget constraints on access and quality in hospital care," International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 211-232, June.
  17. Siciliani, Luigi & Stanciole, Anderson & Jacobs, Rowena, 2009. "Do waiting times reduce hospital costs?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 771-780, July.
  18. Ellis, Randall P., 1998. "Creaming, skimping and dumping: provider competition on the intensive and extensive margins1," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 537-555, October.
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