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Hospital Choices, Hospital Prices, and Financial Incentives to Physicians

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  • Kate Ho
  • Ariel Pakes

Abstract

We estimate an insurer-specific preference function which rationalizes hospital referrals for privately insured births in California. The function is additively separable in: a hospital price paid by the insurer, the distance traveled, and plan- and severity-specific hospital fixed effects (capturing hospital quality). We use an inequality estimator that allows for errors in price and detailed hospital-severity interactions and obtain markedly different results than those from a logit. The estimates indicate that insurers with more capitated physicians are more responsive to price. Capitated plans send patients further to utilize similar quality, lower-priced hospitals; but the cost-quality trade-off does not vary with capitation rates. (JEL G22, H51, I11, I13, I18, J44)

Suggested Citation

  • Kate Ho & Ariel Pakes, 2014. "Hospital Choices, Hospital Prices, and Financial Incentives to Physicians," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(12), pages 3841-3884, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:104:y:2014:i:12:p:3841-84
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.12.3841
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations

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