Does Corporate Ownership Matter? Service Provision in the Hospital Industry
NBER Working Paper No. 11376
Three types of firms nonprofit, for-profit, and government own U.S. hospitals, yet we do not know whether ownership results in the specialization of medical service provision. This study of over 30 medical services in urban, general hospitals (1988-2000) shows that ownership types specialize in medical services according to the profitability of those services. The paper examines three theories to explain the differences: 1) objectives, 2) capital prices, and 3) market characteristics. The findings are best explained by differences in the objectives adopted by hospital types rather than differences in capital constraints faced by them. Preliminary evidence suggests that hospital behavior depends on the ownership form of neighboring hospitals.