Factors affecting the entry of for-profit providers into a price regulated market for formal long-term care services: A case study from Japan
While the distinct behaviors of for-profit and non-profit providers in the healthcare market have been compared in the economic literature, their choices regarding market entry and exit have only recently been debated. Since 2000, when public Long-Term Care Insurance was introduced in Japan, for-profit providers have been able to provide formal long-term homecare services. The aim of this study is to determine which factors have affected market entry of for-profit providers under price regulation and in competition with existing non-profit providers. We used nation-wide panel data from 2002 to 2010, aggregated at the level of local public insurers (n = 1557), a basic area unit of service provision. The number of for-profit providers per elderly population in the area unit was regressed against factors related to local demand and service costs using first-difference linear regression, a fixed effects model, and Tobit regression for robustness checking. Results showed that demand (the number of eligible care recipients) and cost factors (population density and minimum wage) significantly influenced for-profit providers' choice of market entry. These findings indicate that for-profit providers will strategically choose a local market for maximizing profit. We believe that price regulation should be redesigned to incorporate quality of care and market conditions, regardless of the profit status of the providers, to ensure equal access to efficient delivery of long-term care across all regions.
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Volume (Year): 76 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
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