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Do Strikes Kill? Evidence from New York State

  • Jonathan Gruber
  • Samuel A. Kleiner

Hospitals now represent one of the largest union sectors of the US economy, and there is particular concern about the impact of strikes on patient welfare. We analyze the effects of nurses' strikes in hospitals on patient outcomes in New York State. Controlling for hospital specific heterogeneity, the results show that nurses' strikes increase in-hospital mortality by 18.3 percent and 30-day readmission by 5.7 percent for patients admitted during a strike, with little change in patient demographics, disease severity or treatment intensity. The results suggest that hospitals functioning during nurses' strikes do so at a lower quality of patient care. (JEL H75, I11, I12, J52)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/pol.4.1.127
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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej/pol/data/2010-0221_data.zip
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 127-57

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:4:y:2012:i:1:p:127-57
Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.4.1.127
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-policy
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  1. Ho, Vivian & Hamilton, Barton H., 2000. "Hospital mergers and acquisitions: does market consolidation harm patients?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 767-791, September.
  2. Cutler, D.M., 1992. "The Incidence of Adverse Medical Outcome Under Prospective Payment," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1603, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Thomas J. Holmes, 2006. "Geographic spillover of unionism," Staff Report 368, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Richard A. De Fusco & Scott M. Fuess Jr., 1991. "The Effects of Airline Strikes on Struck and Nonstruck Carriers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 44(2), pages 324-333, January.
  5. Andrew Cook & Martin Gaynor & Melvin Stephens, Jr. & Lowell Taylor, 2010. "The Effect of Hospital Nurse Staffing on Patient Health Outcomes: Evidence from California's Minimum Staffing Regulation," NBER Working Papers 16077, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Peter C. Cramton & Joseph S. Tracy, 1995. "The Use of Replacement Workers in Union Contract Negotiations: The U.S. Experience, 1980-1989," NBER Working Papers 5106, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. John F. Geweke & Gautam Gowrisankaran & Robert J. Town, 2002. "Bayesian inference for hospital quality in a selection model," Working Paper Series 2002-18, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  8. Daniel P. Kessler & Jeffrey J. Geppert, 2005. "The Effects of Competition on Variation in the Quality and Cost of Medical Care," NBER Working Papers 11226, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Alan B. Krueger & Alexandre Mas, 2004. "Strikes, Scabs, and Tread Separations: Labor Strife and the Production of Defective Bridgestone/Firestone Tires," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 253-289, April.
  10. Gowrisankaran, Gautam & Town, Robert J., 1999. "Estimating the quality of care in hospitals using instrumental variables," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 747-767, December.
  11. George R. Neumann, 1980. "The Predicability of Strikes: Evidence from the Stock Market," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 33(4), pages 525-535, July.
  12. Jonathan K. Kramer & Geraldo M. Vasconcellos, 1996. "The Economic Effect of Strikes on the Shareholders of Nonstruck Competitors," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 49(2), pages 213-222, January.
  13. Daniel P. Kessler & Jeffrey J. Geppert, 2005. "The Effects of Competition on Variation in the Quality and Cost of Medical Care," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(3), pages 575-589, 09.
  14. Alexandre Mas, 2007. "Labor Unrest and the Quality of Production: Evidence from the Construction Equipment Resale Market," NBER Working Papers 13138, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Richard McHugh, 1991. "Productivity Effects of Strikes in Struck and Nonstruck Industries," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 44(4), pages 722-732, July.
  16. Jonathan Gruber & Samuel A. Kleiner, 2012. "Do Strikes Kill? Evidence from New York State," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 127-57, February.
  17. Mark McClellan & Douglas Staiger, 1999. "The Quality of Health Care Providers," NBER Working Papers 7327, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Martin B. Schmidt & David J. Berri, 2004. "The Impact of Labor Strikes on Consumer Demand: An Application to Professional Sports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 344-357, March.
  19. Michael Ash & Jean Ann Seago, 2004. "The Effect of Registered Nurses' Unions on Heart-Attack Mortality," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 57(3), pages 422-442, April.
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