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Hospitals: The Market for Health Care Facilities


  • John D. Benjamin
  • Peter Chinloy
  • Isaac F. Megbolugbe


Health care facilities include hospitals and nursing homes. Demand for beds and occupancy depends on income, prices and insurer restrictions. The supply of beds is limited by regulatory certificates of need. The implied equilibrium vacancy leads to a trade-off with rate increases. Rate increases establish an asset price for a hospital bed. If prices of health care rise faster than income and nonhealth prices, patients demand less bed availability and occupancy. Rising vacancy and rising prices occur, consistent with the empirical observations for U.S. health care facilities. For 1980-2001, the equilibrium vacancy rate for U.S. hospitals is between 27% and 36% depending on capacity adjustments, bed availability and price expectations. Equilibrium vacancy is near the actual rate after 2000, but that rate is 11 percentage points higher than in the early 1980s when the number of beds was nearly one-third higher. Usually rent regulation leads to excess demand. But in a general equilibrium model with income, relative prices, expectations, supply and capital markets, price regulation can coexist with excess supply. Copyright 2007 American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association

Suggested Citation

  • John D. Benjamin & Peter Chinloy & Isaac F. Megbolugbe, 2007. "Hospitals: The Market for Health Care Facilities," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 35(1), pages 113-134, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:reesec:v:35:y:2007:i:1:p:113-134

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