Does Managerial 'Outsourcing' Reduce Expense Preference Behavior? A Comparison of Adopters and Non-Adopters of Contract-Management in US Hospitals

Kathleen Carey, Avi Dor

NBER Working Paper No. 9157
Issued in September 2002
NBER Program(s):Health Care

This paper explores potential realization of gains by hospitals that are managed on a day-to-day basis by external organizations under formal contracts. It draws from the incentives literature, which postulates that managers of firms where ownership is separated from control will employ an input mix that deviates from cost minimization. While this status applies to hospitals generally, we hypothesize that specialized managerial expertise, coupled with the threat of non-renewal, will improve efficiency in hospitals that opt for contract. Secondary data obtained from the AHA Annual Surveys (1991-1998) are applied to examine the distribution of expense preference' parameters for all contract management adopters both pre- and post-adoption. These are contrasted with two control groups of hospitals drawn from the same years using propensity score methods. Results reveal allocative inefficiency among both adoption and control groups but a significantly lower change in the expense preference parameter pre- and post-adoption associated with a staffing. This suggests that changes in incentive contracts are one important strategy hospitals are using to cope with competitive pressures.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w9157

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