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The Price Effects of Hospital Mergers: A Case Study of the Sutter-Summit Transaction


  • Steven Tenn


We conduct a retrospective study of the Sutter-Summit hospital merger to assess whether antitrust enforcement in this matter was appropriate. This consummated merger combined two hospitals located close together in the Oakland-Berkeley region of the San Francisco Bay Area. The greater metropolitan area contained many other hospitals that offered a similar range of services, but which were located farther away. A central issue raised by the Sutter-Summit transaction was whether travel costs were low enough such that these hospitals were a sufficient constraint on the merging parties to prevent an anticompetitive price increase. We use detailed claims data from three large health insurers to compare the post-merger price change for the merging parties to the price change for a set of control-group hospitals. Our results show that Summit's price increase was among the largest of any comparable hospital in California, indicating this transaction may have been anticompetitive.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven Tenn, 2011. "The Price Effects of Hospital Mergers: A Case Study of the Sutter-Summit Transaction," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(1), pages 65-82.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ijecbs:v:18:y:2011:i:1:p:65-82 DOI: 10.1080/13571516.2011.542956

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2014. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 10.
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    7. Jack Hirshleifer, 1956. "On the Economics of Transfer Pricing," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29, pages 172-172.
    8. James R. Hines & Eric M. Rice, 1994. "Fiscal Paradise: Foreign Tax Havens and American Business," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 149-182.
    9. Hines, James R. Jr., 1999. "Lessons from Behavioral Responses to International Taxation," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 305-22, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gaynor, Martin & Laudicella, Mauro & Propper, Carol, 2012. "Can governments do it better? Merger mania and hospital outcomes in the English NHS," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 528-543.
    2. Ron Kemp & Nikki Kersten & Astrid Severijnen, 2012. "Price Effects of Dutch Hospital Mergers: An Ex-post Assessment of Hip Surgery," De Economist, Springer, vol. 160(3), pages 237-255, September.
    3. Martin Gaynor & Kate Ho & Robert J. Town, 2015. "The Industrial Organization of Health-Care Markets," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 53(2), pages 235-284, June.
    4. Orley Ashenfelter & Daniel Hosken & Matthew Weinberg, 2014. "Did Robert Bork Understate the Competitive Impact of Mergers? Evidence from Consummated Mergers," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(S3), pages 67-100.
    5. Gaynor, Martin & Town, Robert J., 2011. "Competition in Health Care Markets," Handbook of Health Economics, Elsevier.
    6. Helda Azevedo & Céu Mateus, 2014. "Cost effects of hospital mergers in Portugal," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 15(9), pages 999-1010, December.
    7. Cory Capps & Dennis W. Carlton & Guy David, 2017. "Antitrust Treatment of Nonprofits: Should Hospitals Receive Special Care?," NBER Working Papers 23131, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Schmid, Andreas & Varkevisser, Marco, 2016. "Hospital merger control in Germany, the Netherlands and England: Experiences and challenges," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 120(1), pages 16-25.

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    Hospital; Merger; Antitrust;


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