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Competition and Waiting Times in Hospital Markets

  • Brekke, Kurt Richard
  • Siciliani, Luigi
  • Straume, Odd Rune

This paper studies the impact of hospital competition on waiting times. We use a Salop-type model, with hospitals that differ in (geographical) location and, potentially, waiting time, and two types of patients; high-benefit patients who choose between neighbouring hospitals (competitive segment), and low-benefit patients who decide whether or not to demand treatment from the closest hospital (monopoly segment). Compared with a benchmark case of regulated monopolies, we find that hospital competition leads to longer waiting times in equilibrium if the competitive segment is sufficiently large. Given a policy regime of hospital competition, the effect of increased competition depends on the parameter of measurement: Lower travelling costs increase waiting times, higher hospital density reduces waiting times, while the effect of a larger competitive segment is ambiguous. We also show that, if the competitive segment is large, hospital competition is socially preferable to regulated monopolies only if the (regulated) treatment price is sufficiently high.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6285.

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Date of creation: May 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6285
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  1. Brekke, Kurt R. & Siciliani, Luigi & Straume, Odd Rune, 2008. "Competition and waiting times in hospital markets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1607-1628, July.
  2. Jeremy Hurst & Luigi Siciliani, 2003. "Tackling Excessive Waiting Times for Elective Surgery: A Comparison of Policies in Twelve OECD Countries," OECD Health Working Papers 6, OECD Publishing.
  3. Hugh Gravelle & Peter Smith & Ana Xavier, 2003. "Performance signals in the public sector: the case of health care," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(1), pages 81-103, January.
  4. Billy Jack, 2001. "Purchasing Health Care Services from Providers with Unknown Altruism," Working Papers gueconwpa~03-03-13, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  5. Luigi Siciliani, 2005. "Does more choice reduce waiting times?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(1), pages 17-23.
  6. Hugh Gravelle & Luigi Siciliani, 2008. "Is waiting-time prioritisation welfare improving?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(2), pages 167-184.
  7. Tay, Abigail, 2003. " Assessing Competition in Hospital Care Markets: The Importance of Accounting for Quality Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(4), pages 786-814, Winter.
  8. Hoel, Michael & Saether, Erik Magnus, 2003. "Public health care with waiting time: the role of supplementary private health care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 599-616, July.
  9. Chalkley, Martin & Malcomson, James M., 1998. "Contracting for health services when patient demand does not reflect quality," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 1-19, January.
  10. Ellis, Randall P. & McGuire, Thomas G., 1986. "Provider behavior under prospective reimbursement : Cost sharing and supply," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 129-151, June.
  11. Barros, Pedro Luis Pita, 2000. "Waiting Lists and Patient Selection," CEPR Discussion Papers 2519, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Luigi Siciliani & Steve Martin, 2007. "An empirical analysis of the impact of choice on waiting times," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(8), pages 763-779.
  13. Kurt R. Brekke & Lars Sørgard, 2006. "Public versus Private Health Care in a National Health Service," CESifo Working Paper Series 1679, CESifo Group Munich.
  14. Manning, Willard G, et al, 1987. "Health Insurance and the Demand for Medical Care: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 251-77, June.
  15. repec:rus:hseeco:122140 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Daniel P. Kessler & Mark B. McClellan, 2000. "Is Hospital Competition Socially Wasteful?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 577-615, May.
  17. Steven C. Salop, 1979. "Monopolistic Competition with Outside Goods," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 141-156, Spring.
  18. Olivella, Pau, 2003. "Shifting public-health-sector waiting lists to the private sector," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 103-132, March.
  19. Lindsay, Cotton M & Feigenbaum, Bernard, 1984. "Rationing by Waiting Lists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 404-17, June.
  20. Luigi Siciliani, 2008. "A note on the dynamic interaction between waiting times and waiting lists," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(5), pages 639-647.
  21. Besley, Timothy & Hall, John & Preston, Ian, 1999. "The demand for private health insurance: do waiting lists matter?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 155-181, May.
  22. Luigi Siciliani & Jeremy Hurst, 2003. "Explaining Waiting Times Variations for Elective Surgery Across OECD Countries," OECD Health Working Papers 7, OECD Publishing.
  23. Martin, Stephen & Smith, Peter C., 1999. "Rationing by waiting lists: an empirical investigation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 141-164, January.
  24. Cullis, John G. & Jones, Philip R. & Propper, Carol, 2000. "Waiting lists and medical treatment: Analysis and policies," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 23, pages 1201-1249 Elsevier.
  25. Farnworth, Michael G., 2003. "A game theoretic model of the relationship between prices and waiting times," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 47-60, January.
  26. Martin, Stephen & Rice, Nigel & Jacobs, Rowena & Smith, Peter, 2007. "The market for elective surgery: Joint estimation of supply and demand," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 263-285, March.
  27. Diane Dawson & Hugh Gravelle & Rowena Jacobs & Stephen Martin & Peter C. Smith, 2007. "The effects of expanding patient choice of provider on waiting times: evidence from a policy experiment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(2), pages 113-128.
  28. Iversen, Tor, 1997. "The effect of a private sector on the waiting time in a national health service," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 381-396, August.
  29. Iversen, Tor, 1993. "A theory of hospital waiting lists," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 55-71, April.
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