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After Midnight: A Regression Discontinuity Design in Length of Postpartum Hospital Stays

Author

Listed:
  • Douglas Almond
  • Joseph J. Doyle

Abstract

Estimates of moral hazard in health insurance markets can be confounded by adverse selection. This paper considers a plausibly exogenous source of variation in insurance coverage for childbirth in California. We find that additional health insurance coverage induces substantial extensions in length of hospital stay for mother and newborn. However, remaining in the hospital longer has no effect on readmissions or mortality, and the estimates are precise. Our results suggest that for uncomplicated births, minimum insurance mandates incur substantial costs without detectable health benefits. (JEL D82, G22, I12, I18, J13)

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas Almond & Joseph J. Doyle, 2011. "After Midnight: A Regression Discontinuity Design in Length of Postpartum Hospital Stays," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 1-34, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:3:y:2011:i:3:p:1-34
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.3.3.1
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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