NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Hospital Ownership and Quality of Care: What Explains the Different Results?

Karen Eggleston, Yu-Chu Shen, Joseph Lau, Christopher H. Schmid, Jia Chan

NBER Working Paper No. 12241
Issued in May 2006
NBER Program(s):   HC

Does quality of care systematically differ among government-owned, private not-for-profit, and for-profit hospitals? A large empirical literature provides conflicting evidence. Through quantitative review of 46 studies since 1990, we find that several study features that can explain divergent results: analytic methods, disease studied, and data sources. For unprofitable care, how studies handle market competition and regional differences account for substantial variation. Policymakers should be aware that differences in results appear to arise predominantly from differences between studies’ analytic methods. Moreover, conventional methods of meta-analytic synthesis should be applied with great caution given the considerable overlap among studied hospitals.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w12241

Published: Karen Eggleston & Yu-Chu Shen & Joseph Lau & Christopher H. Schmid & Jia Chan, 2008. "Hospital ownership and quality of care: what explains the different results in the literature?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(12), pages 1345-1362.

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