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Wolves in Sheep's Clothing: Is non-profit status used to signal quality?

Listed author(s):
  • Jones, Daniel
  • Propper, Carol
  • Smith, Sarah

Why do firms adopt non-profit status? One argument is that non-profit status serves as a signal of quality when consumers are not well informed. A testable implication is that an increase in consumer information may lead to a reduction in the number of non-profits in a market. We test this idea empirically by exploiting an exogenous increase in consumer information in the US nursing home industry. Indeed, we find that the information shock led to a reduction in the share of non-profit homes in the market, driven by a combination of home closure and sector switching. The lowest quality non-profits were the most likely to exit. Our results have important implications for the effects of reforms to increase consumer provision in a number of public services.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 11240.

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Date of creation: Apr 2016
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11240
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  1. Gregg, Paul & Grout, Paul A. & Ratcliffe, Anita & Smith, Sarah & Windmeijer, Frank, 2011. "How important is pro-social behaviour in the delivery of public services?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 758-766, August.
  2. Glaeser, Edward L. & Shleifer, Andrei, 2001. "Not-for-profit entrepreneurs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 99-115, July.
  3. Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2005. "Competition and Incentives with Motivated Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 616-636, June.
  4. Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2009. "Quality, reputation and the choice of organizational form," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 515-527, August.
  5. Susan Feng Lu, 2012. "Multitasking, Information Disclosure, and Product Quality: Evidence from Nursing Homes," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(3), pages 673-705, September.
  6. Jones, Daniel B., 2015. "The supply and demand of motivated labor: When should we expect to see nonprofit wage gaps?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 1-14.
  7. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 1998. "Nonprofit Production and Competition," NBER Working Papers 6377, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Caroline Minter Hoxby, 2003. "School Choice and School Productivity. Could School Choice Be a Tide that Lifts All Boats?," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of School Choice, pages 287-342 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Hirth, Richard A., 1999. "Consumer information and competition between nonprofit and for-profit nursing homes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 219-240, April.
  10. Chou, Shin-Yi, 2002. "Asymmetric information, ownership and quality of care: an empirical analysis of nursing homes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 293-311, March.
  11. Martin Gaynor & Rodrigo Moreno-Serra & Carol Propper, 2013. "Death by Market Power: Reform, Competition, and Patient Outcomes in the National Health Service," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 134-166, November.
  12. Susan Rose-Ackerman, 1996. "Altruism, Nonprofits, and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 701-728, June.
  13. David Dranove & Daniel Kessler & Mark McClellan & Mark Satterthwaite, 2003. "Is More Information Better? The Effects of "Report Cards" on Health Care Providers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(3), pages 555-588, June.
  14. Susan F. Lu, 2016. "The Role of Donations in Quality Disclosure: Evidence from Nonprofit Nursing Homes Full Access," American Journal of Health Economics, MIT Press, vol. 2(4), pages 431-462, Fall.
  15. repec:hrv:faseco:33078971 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. David Easley & Maureen O'Hara, 1983. "The Economic Role of the Nonprofit Firm," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 531-538, Autumn.
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