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Testing the Hirshleifer–Riley Model: The Values of Information Sources for a Future Hospital Stay


  • Roger Feldman


  • Kyoungrae Jung



This study tests whether the Hirshleifer–Riley (HR) model predicts the values of information sources for a future hospital admission. The main testable prediction of that model concerns the values of information sources for those who intend to choose the same hospital again and those who intend to choose a different hospital. Satisfaction with the prior choice should be negatively correlated with the values of information sources for intentional “stayers,” but positively correlated with the values of information sources for intentional “switchers.” The authors had a dataset comprising a sample of employees and spouses at a large employer who had been hospitalized during the past year. Respondents were asked to name the hospital(s) they would consider for a future overnight stay, as well as the values of three information sources: their physician’s recommendation, family or friends’ recommendation, and quality ratings comparing hospitals in the community. Analysis of the responses showed that moderately and highly satisfied consumers who intend to use the same hospital have lower values of quality ratings and that moderately and highly satisfied consumers who intend to switch hospitals have weakly significant, higher values of a physician’s recommendation. Otherwise, the HR model’s predictions are not supported. There is broader support for the idea that consumers who care about the attributes of the hospital—reputation, medical services, and amenities—have higher values for information sources. The findings suggest that “report cards” comparing hospital quality will be used by only a subset of consumers. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Roger Feldman & Kyoungrae Jung, 2012. "Testing the Hirshleifer–Riley Model: The Values of Information Sources for a Future Hospital Stay," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 355-371, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jcopol:v:35:y:2012:i:3:p:355-371
    DOI: 10.1007/s10603-012-9197-6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jung, Kyoungrae & Feldman, Roger & Scanlon, Dennis, 2011. "Where would you go for your next hospitalization?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 832-841, July.
    2. Dranove, David & Sfekas, Andrew, 2008. "Start spreading the news: A structural estimate of the effects of New York hospital report cards," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1201-1207, September.
    3. Donald S. Kenkel & Joseph V. Terza, 2001. "The effect of physician advice on alcohol consumption: count regression with an endogenous treatment effect," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(2), pages 165-184.
    4. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    5. Torrance, George W., 1986. "Measurement of health state utilities for economic appraisal : A review," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 1-30, March.
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    More about this item


    D12 consumer economics: empirical analysis D83 search; Learning; Information and knowledge; Communication; Belief;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness


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