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Hospital competition with soft budgets

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Abstract

We study the incentives for hospitals to provide quality and expend cost-reducing effort when their budgets are soft, i.e., the payer may cover deficits or confiscate surpluses. The basic set up is a Hotelling model with two hospitals that differ in location and face demand uncertainty, where the hospitals run deficits (surpluses) in the high (low) demand state. Softer budgets reduce cost efficiency, while the effect on quality is ambiguous. For given cost efficiency, softer budgets increase quality since parts of the expenditures may be covered by the payer. However, softer budgets reduce cost-reducing effort and the profit margin, which in turn weakens quality incentives. We also find that profit confiscation reduces quality and cost-reducing effort. First best is achieved by a strict no-bailout and no-profit-confiscation policy when the regulated price is optimally set. However, for suboptimal prices a more lenient bailout policy can be welfare improving.

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  • Brekke, Kurt R. & Siciliani, Luigi & Straume, Odd Rune, 2012. "Hospital competition with soft budgets," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 6/2012, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:nhheco:2012_006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. Brekke, Kurt R. & Nuscheler, Robert & Straume, Odd Rune, 2007. "Gatekeeping in health care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 149-170, January.
    3. Beitia, Arantza, 2003. "Hospital quality choice and market structure in a regulated duopoly," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 1011-1036, November.
    4. Eggleston, Karen & Shen, Yu-Chu, 2011. "Soft budget constraints and ownership: Empirical evidence from US hospitals," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 110(1), pages 7-11, January.
    5. Brekke, Kurt R. & Siciliani, Luigi & Straume, Odd Rune, 2012. "Quality competition with profit constraints," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 642-659.
    6. Kurt R. Brekke & Luigi Siciliani & Odd Rune Straume, 2011. "Hospital Competition and Quality with Regulated Prices," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 113, pages 444-469, June.
    7. Eggleston, Karen, 2008. "Soft budget constraints and the property rights theory of ownership," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 100(3), pages 425-427, September.
    8. Yu-Chu Shen & Karen Eggleston, 2009. "The effect of soft budget constraints on access and quality in hospital care," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 211-232, June.
    9. J. Kornai & E. Maskin & G. Roland., 2004. "Understanding the Soft Budget Constraint," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 12.
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    11. János Kornai, 2009. "The soft budget constraint syndrome in the hospital sector," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 117-135, June.
    12. Kurt R. Brekke & Robert Nuscheler & Odd Rune Straume, 2006. "Quality and Location Choices under Price Regulation," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 207-227, March.
    13. Kornai, Janos, 2001. "Hardening the budget constraint: The experience of the post-socialist countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(9), pages 1573-1599, October.
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    19. repec:hrv:faseco:30727607 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Cavalieri, M. & Guccio, C. & Lisi, D. & Pignataro, G., 2015. "Does the Extent of Per-Case Payment System Affect Hospital Efficiency? Evidence from the Italian NHS," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 15/29, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    2. János Kornai, 2014. "The soft budget constraint," Acta Oeconomica, Akadémiai Kiadó, Hungary, vol. 64(supplemen), pages 25-79, November.
    3. Kornai, János, 2014. "Bevezetés A puha költségvetési korlát című kötethez
      [Introduction to the author s volume entitled Soft Budget Constraint]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(7), pages 845-897.
    4. Castro, M.F.; & Ferrara, P.; & Guccio, C.; & Lisi, D.;, 2018. "Medical Malpractice Liability and Physicians’ Behavior:Experimental Evidence," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 18/11, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    5. Paolo Berta & Carla Guerriero & Rosella Levaggi, 2018. "The dark side of fiscal federalism:evidence from hospital care in Italy," Working papers 72, Società Italiana di Economia Pubblica.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Hospital competition; Soft budgets; Quality; Cost efficiency.;

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L32 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Public Enterprises; Public-Private Enterprises

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