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The Effects of Market Concentration and Horizontal Mergers on Hospital Costs and Prices

Author

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  • Robert Connor
  • Roger Feldman
  • Bryan Dowd

Abstract

Antitrust advocates believe that horizontal consolidation in hospital markets can reduce competition and increase prices while merger advocates believe it can benefit consumers by reducing service duplication. This study analyzed the market conditions, operating characteristics, and costs and prices of approximately 3500 short-term general hospitals (including 112 within-market-area mergers) from 1986 to 1994 to investigate the effects of market concentration, hospital mergers, and managed care penetration. The results show: a shift away from non-price competition toward price competition in health care markets; that this shift was fueled by increased market penetration by price-sensitive buyers; that horizontal hospital mergers produced average cost savings of approximately 5%, which were generally passed on to consumers as lower prices; that cost savings were generally greater for mergers of similar-size hospitals, with a higher degree of duplicative services, and with lower pre-merger occupancy rates; and some evidence that post-merger price reductions were smaller in less-competitive markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Connor & Roger Feldman & Bryan Dowd, 1998. "The Effects of Market Concentration and Horizontal Mergers on Hospital Costs and Prices," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(2), pages 159-180.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ijecbs:v:5:y:1998:i:2:p:159-180
    DOI: 10.1080/13571519884495
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robinson, James C. & Luft, Harold S., 1985. "The impact of hospital market structure on patient volume, average length of stay, and the cost of care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 333-356, December.
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    3. Robinson, James C. & Phibbs, Ciaran S., 1990. "An evaluation of Medicaid selective contracting in California," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 437-455, February.
    4. Lynk, William J., 1995. "The creation of economic efficiencies in hospital mergers," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 507-530, December.
    5. Staten, Michael & Umbeck, John & Dunkelberg, William, 1988. "Market share/market power revisited : A new test for an old theory," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 73-83, March.
    6. S. Baranzoni & P. Bianchi & L. Lambertini, 2000. "Multiproduct Firms, Product Differentiation, and Market Structure," Working Papers 368, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    7. Zwanziger, Jack & Melnick, Glenn A., 1988. "The effects of hospital competition and the Medicare PPS program on hospital cost behavior in California," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 301-320, December.
    8. Hay, George A & Werden, Gregory J, 1993. "Horizontal Mergers: Law, Policy, and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 173-177, May.
    9. Lynk, William J, 1995. "Nonprofit Hospital Mergers and the Exercise of Market Power," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 437-461, October.
    10. Dranove, David & Shanley, Mark & White, William D, 1993. "Price and Concentration in Hospital Markets: The Switch from Patient-Driven to Payer-Driven Competition," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 179-204, April.
    11. Breyer, Friedrich, 1987. "The specification of a hospital cost function : A comment on the recent literature," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 147-157, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Michael D. Rosko, 2001. "Cost efficiency of US hospitals: a stochastic frontier approach," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(6), pages 539-551.
    2. Yu-Chu Shen & Vivian Wu & Glenn Melnick, 2008. "The Changing Effect of HMO Market Structure: An Analysis of Penetration, Concentration, and Ownership Between 1994-2005," NBER Working Papers 13775, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Vivian Wu, 2010. "Hospital cost shifting revisited: new evidence from the balanced budget act of 1997," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 61-83, March.
    4. Leemore S. Dafny, 2005. "Estimation and Identification of Merger Effects: An Application to Hospital Mergers," NBER Working Papers 11673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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