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Welfare Analysis Incorporating a Structural Entry-Exit Model: A Case Study of Medicare HMOs

  • Shiko Maruyama

Should the government subsidize entry to promote competition? In theory, free entry does not guarantee the socially optimum number of entrants. In differentiated product markets, free entry can result either in excessive or insufficient entry. In this paper I propose an empirical framework to address this issue with a case study of the Medicare HMO market for 2003 and 2004. I perform counterfactual welfare simulations with different entry conditions and with different government payment rates to HMOs. The results indicate that uniformly raising the payment rate lowers national welfare, which supports the government's efforts to contain the payment rate in my sample years. A comparison of the cases with and without entry and/or market power indicates that this welfare loss does not come from additional entry, but instead the oligopolistic market structure and market distortion from the payment rate subsidy. The number of entrants is likely to be insufficient.

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File URL: http://hi-stat.ier.hit-u.ac.jp/research/discussion/2006/pdf/D06-166.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University in its series Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series with number d06-166.

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Date of creation: Jun 2006
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Handle: RePEc:hst:hstdps:d06-166
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  1. Steven T. Berry & Joel Waldfogel, 1999. "Free Entry and Social Inefficiency in Radio Broadcasting," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(3), pages 397-420, Autumn.
  2. Paul Contoyannis & Andrew M. Jones & Roberto Leon-Gonzalez, 2002. "Using Simulation-based Inference with Panel Data in Health Economics," Department of Economics Working Papers 2002-13, McMaster University.
  3. Elie Tamer & Federico Ciliberto, 2004. "Market Structure and Multiple Equilibria in Airline Markets," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 517, Econometric Society.
  4. Leemore Dafny & David Dranove, 2008. "Do report cards tell consumers anything they don't already know? The case of Medicare HMOs," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(3), pages 790-821.
  5. repec:cdl:compol:217 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Bresnahan, Timothy F. & Reiss, Peter C., 1991. "Empirical models of discrete games," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1-2), pages 57-81.
  7. David Besanko & David Dranove & Mark Shanley, 2001. "Exploiting a Cost Advantage and Coping with a Cost Disadvantage," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(2), pages 221-235, February.
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