IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Economies of scale and scope in Vietnamese hospitals

Listed author(s):
  • Weaver, Marcia
  • Deolalikar, Anil

Hospitals consume a large share of health resources in developing countries, but little is known about the efficiency of their scale and scope. The Ministry of Health of Vietnam and World Bank collected data in 1996 from the largest sample ever surveyed in a developing country. The sample included 654 out of 815 public hospitals, six categories of hospitals and a broad range of sizes. These data were used to estimate total variable cost as a function of multiple products, such as admissions and outpatient visits. We report results for two specifications: (1) estimates with a single variable for beds and (2) estimates with interaction terms for beds and the category of hospital. The coefficient estimates were used to calculate marginal costs, short-run returns to the variable factor, economies of scale, and economies of scope for each category of hospital. There were important differences across categories of hospitals. The measure of economies of scale was 1.09 for central general and 1.05 for central specialty hospitals with a mean of 516 and 226 beds, respectively, indicating roughly constant returns to scale. The measure was well below one for both provincial general and specialty hospitals with a mean of 357 and 192 beds, respectively, indicating large diseconomies of scale. The measure was 1.16 for district hospitals and 0.89 other ministry hospitals indicating modest economies and diseconomies of scale, respectively. There were large economies of scope for central and provincial general hospitals. We conclude that in a system of public hospitals in a developing country that followed an administrative structure, the variable cost function differed significantly across categories of hospitals. Economies of scale and scope depended on the category of the hospital in addition to the number of beds and volume of output.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

Volume (Year): 59 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
Pages: 199-208

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:59:y:2004:i:1:p:199-208
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Postal:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:59:y:2004:i:1:p:199-208. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.