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Competition and Costs: Evidence from Competitive Tendering in the Scottish National Health Service

  • Robin G. Milne
  • Robert E. Wright

This paper estimates the impact of competitive tendering on cleaning costs in Scottish "National Health Service" hospitals. Unlike previous studies, which have relied on cross-sectional data, a five-year balanced panel of 176 hospitals is used to estimate a series of fixed effects regression models. These panel estimates suggest that previous studies have likely over-estimated the cost-savings associated with competitive tendering. The findings also suggest that the lower costs associated with competitive tendering have more to do with auction theory than with any intrinsic efficiency of the private sector. Copyright (c) Scottish Economic Society 2004.

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Article provided by Scottish Economic Society in its journal Scottish Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 51 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 (02)
Pages: 1-23

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Handle: RePEc:bla:scotjp:v:51:y:2004:i:1:p:1-23
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  1. Simon Domberger & Stephen Rimmer, 1994. "Competitive Tendering and Contracting in the Public Sector: A Survey," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(3), pages 439-453.
  2. Ohlsson, H., 1998. "Ownership and Production Costs Choosing Between Public Production and Contracting Out," Papers 1998-6, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  3. Domberger, S & Meadowcroft, S & Thompson, D, 1987. "The impact of competitive tendering on the costs of hospital domestic services," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 8(4), pages 39-54, November.
  4. McMaster, Robert, 1995. "Competitive Tendering in UK Health and Local Authorities: What Happens to the Quality of Services?," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 42(4), pages 409-27, November.
  5. Paul Klemperer, 1999. "Auction Theory: A Guide to the Literature," Economics Series Working Papers 1999-W12, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1997. "Game theory and empirical economics: The case of auction data 1," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 1-35, January.
  7. AndréS GóMez-Lobo & Stefan Szymanski, 2001. "A Law of Large Numbers: Bidding and Compulsory Competitive Tendering for Refuse Collection Contracts," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 105-113, February.
  8. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  9. Ohlsson, Henry, 1996. "Ownership and input prices: A comparison of public and private enterprises," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 33-38, October.
  10. Milgrom, Paul, 1989. "Auctions and Bidding: A Primer," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 3-22, Summer.
  11. Boudreau, Bryan & Hendricks, Kenneth & Porter, Robert H., 1986. "Information, Returns, and Bidding Behavior in OCS Auctions: 1954-1969," Working Papers 86-25, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  12. Domberger, Simon & Hall, Christine & Li, Eric Ah Lik, 1995. "The Determinants of Price and Quality in Competitively Tendered Contracts," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(433), pages 1454-70, November.
  13. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions and Bidding," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 699-738, June.
  14. Hendricks, K. & Paarsch, H.J., 1993. "A Survey of Recent Empirical Work Concerning Auctions," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9309, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  15. María Engracia ROCHINA-BARRACHINA, 1999. "A New Estimator for Panel Data Sample Selection Models," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 55-56, pages 153-181.
  16. Robin Milne & Magnus McGee, 1992. "Compulsory competitive tendering in the NHS: a new look at some old estimates," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 13(3), pages 96-111, August.
  17. Domberger, Simon & Jensen, Paul, 1997. "Contracting Out by the Public Sector: Theory, Evidence, Prospects," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(4), pages 67-78, Winter.
  18. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 1995. "Selection corrections for panel data models under conditional mean independence assumptions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 115-132, July.
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