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Can competition reduce quality?

Listed author(s):
  • Brekke, Kurt Richard
  • Siciliani, Luigi
  • Straume, Odd Rune

In a spatial competition setting there is usually a non-negative relationship between competition and quality. In this paper we offer a novel mechanism whereby competition leads to lower quality. This mechanism relies on two key assumptions, namely that the providers are motivated and risk-averse. We show that the negative relationship between competition and quality is robust to any given number of fims in the market and whether quality and price decisions are simultaneous or sequential. We also show that competition may improve social welfare despite the adverse effect on quality. Our proposed mechanism can help explain empirical findings of a negative effect of competition on quality in markets such as health care, long-term care, and higher education.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9810.

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Date of creation: Feb 2014
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9810
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  1. Martin Gaynor, "undated". "What Do We Know About Competition and Quality in Health Care Markets?," GSIA Working Papers 2006-E62, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
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  12. Kurt R. Brekke & Luigi Siciliani & Odd Rune Straume, 2009. "Hospital Competition and Quality with Regulated Prices," CESifo Working Paper Series 2635, CESifo Group Munich.
  13. Albert Banal-Estañol & Marco Ottaviani, 2006. "Mergers with Product Market Risk," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(3), pages 577-608, 09.
  14. Propper, Carol & Burgess, Simon & Green, Katherine, 2004. "Does competition between hospitals improve the quality of care?: Hospital death rates and the NHS internal market," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1247-1272, July.
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  17. Josse Delfgaauw & Robert Dur, 2004. "Incentives and Workers’ Motivation in the Public Sector," CESifo Working Paper Series 1223, CESifo Group Munich.
  18. Brekke, Kurt Richard & Siciliani, Luigi & Straume, Odd Rune, 2007. "Competition and Waiting Times in Hospital Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 6285, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Francois, Patrick, 2000. "'Public service motivation' as an argument for government provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 275-299, November.
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  22. Economides, Nicholas, 1993. "Quality variations in the circular model of variety-differentiated products," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 235-257, April.
  23. Brekke, Kurt Richard & Siciliani, Luigi & Straume, Odd Rune, 2009. "Price and quality in spatial competition," CEPR Discussion Papers 7422, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  24. Hodgkin, Dominic & McGuire, Thomas G., 1994. "Payment levels and hospital response to prospective payment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 1-29, March.
  25. Jack, William, 2005. "Purchasing health care services from providers with unknown altruism," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 73-93, January.
  26. Stefan Felder, 2009. "The variance of length of stay and the optimal DRG outlier payments," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 279-289, September.
  27. Asplund, Marcus, 2002. "Risk-averse firms in oligopoly," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(7), pages 995-1012, September.
  28. 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.
  29. David Dranove & Mark A. Satterthwaite, 1992. "Monopolistic Competition When Price and Quality are Imperfectly Observable," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(4), pages 518-534, Winter.
  30. Eggleston, Karen, 2005. "Multitasking and mixed systems for provider payment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 211-223, January.
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