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Reg Sci Urban Econ. 2014 Nov;49:203-216.

Does a hospital's quality depend on the quality of other hospitals? A spatial econometrics approach.

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Centre for Health Economics, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, UK.
Centre for Health Economics, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, UK ; Department of Economics and Related Studies, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, UK ; C.E.P.R., 90-98 Goswell Street, London EC1V 7DB, UK.


We examine whether a hospital's quality is affected by the quality provided by other hospitals in the same market. We first sketch a theoretical model with regulated prices and derive conditions on demand and cost functions which determine whether a hospital will increase its quality if its rivals increase their quality. We then apply spatial econometric methods to a sample of English hospitals in 2009-10 and a set of 16 quality measures including mortality rates, readmission, revision and redo rates, and three patient reported indicators, to examine the relationship between the quality of hospitals. We find that a hospital's quality is positively associated with the quality of its rivals for seven out of the sixteen quality measures. There are no statistically significant negative associations. In those cases where there is a significant positive association, an increase in rivals' quality by 10% increases a hospital's quality by 1.7% to 2.9%. The finding suggests that for some quality measures a policy which improves the quality in one hospital will have positive spillover effects on the quality in other hospitals.


Competition; Hospitals; Quality; Regulated prices; Spatial econometrics

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