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Do waiting times reduce hospital costs?

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  • Luigi Siciliani
  • Anderson Stanciole
  • Rowena Jacobs

Abstract

Using a sample of 137 hospitals over the period 1998-2002 in the English National Health Service, we estimate the elasticity of hospital costs with respect to waiting times. Our cross-sectional and panel-data results suggest that at the sample mean (103 days), waiting times have no significant effect on hospital, costs or, at most, a positive one. If significant, the elasticity of cost with respect to waiting time from our cross-sectional estimates is in the range 0.4-1. The elasticity is still positive but lower in our fixed-effects specifications (0.2-0.4). In all specifications, the effect of waiting time on cost is non-linear, suggesting a U-shaped relationship between hospital costs and waiting times: the level of waiting time which minimises total costs is always below ten days.

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  • Luigi Siciliani & Anderson Stanciole & Rowena Jacobs, 2008. "Do waiting times reduce hospital costs?," Discussion Papers 08/02, Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:08/02
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    Cited by:

    1. Luigi Siciliani & Tor Iversen, 2012. "Waiting Times and Waiting Lists," Chapters,in: The Elgar Companion to Health Economics, Second Edition, chapter 24 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Gravelle, Hugh & Siciliani, Luigi, 2008. "Ramsey waits: Allocating public health service resources when there is rationing by waiting," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1143-1154, September.
    3. Kurt R. Brekke & Luigi Siciliani & Odd Rune Straume, 2015. "Hospital Competition with Soft Budgets," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 117(3), pages 1019-1048, July.
    4. Moscelli, Giuseppe & Siciliani, Luigi & Tonei, Valentina, 2016. "Do waiting times affect health outcomes? Evidence from coronary bypass," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 161(C), pages 151-159.
    5. Meliyanni Johar & Elizabeth Savage, 2010. "Do Private Patients have Shorter Waiting Times for Elective Surgery? Evidence from New South Wales Public Hospitals," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 29(2), pages 128-142, June.
    6. repec:spr:eujhec:v:19:y:2018:i:7:d:10.1007_s10198-017-0941-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Sofia Dimakou & Ourania Dimakou & Henrique Basso, 2015. "Waiting time distribution in public health care: empirics and theory," Health Economics Review, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 1-27, December.
    8. Brekke, Kurt R. & Cellini, Roberto & Siciliani, Luigi & Straume, Odd Rune, 2010. "Competition and quality in health care markets: A differential-game approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 508-523, July.
    9. Sofia Dimakou & Ourania Dimakou & Henrique S. Basso, 2015. "The Asymmetric Effects of Waiting Time Targets in Health Care," BCAM Working Papers 1502, Birkbeck Centre for Applied Macroeconomics.

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    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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