NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by John Romley

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Working Papers and Chapters

October 2013Identifying the Health Production Function: The Case of Hospitals
with Neeraj Sood: w19490
Estimates of the returns to medical care may reflect not only the efficacy of more intensive care, but also unmeasured differences in patient severity or the productivity of health-care providers. We use a variety of instruments that are plausibly orthogonal to heterogeneity among providers as well as patients to analyze the intensity of care and 30-day survival among Medicare patients hospitalized for heart attack, congestive heart failure and pneumonia. We find that the intensity of care is endogenous for two out of three conditions. The elasticity of 30-day mortality with respect to care intensity increases in magnitude from -0.27 to -0.71 for pneumonia and from -0.16 to -0.33 for congestive heart failure, when we address the identification problem. This finding is consistent with t...
December 2008Hospitals As Hotels: The Role of Patient Amenities in Hospital Demand
with Dana Goldman: w14619
Amenities such as good food, attentive staff, and pleasant surroundings may play an important role in hospital demand. We use a marketing survey to measure amenities at hospitals in greater Los Angeles and analyze the choice behavior of Medicare pneumonia patients in this market. We find that the mean valuation of amenities is positive and substantial. From the patient perspective, hospital quality therefore embodies amenities as well as clinical quality. We also find that a one-standard-deviation increase in amenities raises a hospital's demand by 38.4% on average, whereas demand is substantially less responsive to clinical quality as measured by pneumonia mortality. These findings imply that hospitals may have an incentive to compete in amenities, with potentially important implications ...
January 2008How Costly Is Hospital Quality? A Revealed-Preference Approach
with Dana Goldman: w13730
One of the most important and vexing issues in health care concerns the cost to improve quality. Unfortunately, quality is difficult to measure and potentially confounded with productivity. Rather than relying on clinical or process measures, we infer quality at hospitals in greater Los Angeles from the revealed preference of pneumonia patients. We then decompose the joint contribution of quality and unobserved productivity to hospital costs, relying on heterogeneous tastes among patients for plausibly exogenous quality variation. We find that more productive hospitals provide higher quality, demonstrating that the cost of quality improvement is substantially understated by methods that do not take into account productivity differences. After accounting for these differences, we find that ...

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