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Estimating hospital costs with a generalized Leontief function

  • Tong Li

    (Department of Economics, Wylie Hall, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA)

  • Robert Rosenman

    (Department of Economics, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA)

This paper estimates a long-run hospital cost function with multiple outputs and inputs using a panel data set from Washington State hospitals during 1988-1993. We find that with our data the generalized Leontief function is more appropriate than a translog for estimating hospital cost functions. With respect to hospital costs, we find that hospitals readily adjust the use of intermediate products. Radiology, therapies and surgery, and other inpatient days, all serve as substitutes for core inpatient days. Outpatient services are found to be complementary to core inpatient services, indicating that the growth of stand-alone outpatient clinics might increase the costs of providing healthcare services. Our analysis finds that hospitals show significant economies of scale, but there is a limited amount of evidence of scope economies. Also, there is some evidence that profit-seeking hospitals achieve some of their goals by controlling costs, and that diagnostically related groups (DRG)-based Medicare services are effective in getting hospitals to control costs. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/hec.605
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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 10 (2001)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Pages: 523-538

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Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:10:y:2001:i:6:p:523-538
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/5749

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  1. Gertler, Paul J, 1988. "A Latent-Variable Model of Quality Determination," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 6(1), pages 97-104, January.
  2. Fournier, G.M. & Mitchell. J.M., 1991. "Hospital Costs and Competition for Services : A Multiproduct Analysis," Working Papers 1991_03_6, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
  3. Braeutigam, Ronald R. & Daughety, Andrew F., 1983. "On the estimation of returns to scale using variable cost functions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 11(1-2), pages 25-31.
  4. Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1251-71, November.
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  8. Berndt, Ernst R & Khaled, Mohammed S, 1979. "Parametric Productivity Measurement and Choice among Flexible Functional Forms," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1220-45, December.
  9. 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.
  10. Vita, Michael G., 1990. "Exploring hospital production relationships with flexible functional forms," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 1-21, June.
  11. Panzar, John C & Willig, Robert D, 1977. "Economies of Scale in Multi-Output Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 481-93, August.
  12. 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.
  13. Fuss, Melvyn & McFadden, Daniel, 1978. "Production Economics: A Dual Approach to Theory and Applications (I): The Theory of Production," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, volume 1, number fuss1978.
  14. Chamberlain, Gary, 1982. "Multivariate regression models for panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 5-46, January.
  15. Berndt, Ernst R & Darrough, Masako N & Diewert, W E, 1977. "Flexible Functional Forms and Expenditure Distributions: An Application to Canadian Consumer Demand Functions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 18(3), pages 651-75, October.
  16. Diewert, W E, 1971. "An Application of the Shephard Duality Theorem: A Generalized Leontief Production Function," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(3), pages 481-507, May-June.
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