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Hospital Ownership and Public Medical Spending

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  • Mark G. Duggan

Abstract

The hospital market is served by firms that are private for-profit, private not-for-profit, and government-owned and operated. I use a plausibly exogenous change in hospital financing that was intended to improve medical care for the poor to test three theories of organizational behavior. I find that the critical difference between the three types of hospitals is caused by the soft budget constraint of government-owned institutions. The decision-makers in private not-for-profit hospitals are just as responsive to financial incentives and are no more altruistic than their counterparts in profit-maximizing facilities. My final set of results suggests that the significant increase in public medical spending examined in this paper has not improved health outcomes for the indigent.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark G. Duggan, 2000. "Hospital Ownership and Public Medical Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1343-1373.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:115:y:2000:i:4:p:1343-1373.
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