Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Economics

Advisor's Name

Peter Thompson

Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Advisor's Name

Cem Karayalcin

Advisor's Name

Sheng Guo

Advisor's Name

Timothy Page

Keywords

hospital cost, hospital efficiency, Florida hospital

Date of Defense

10-24-2011

Abstract

This dissertation analyzes hospital efficiency using various econometric techniques. The first essay provides additional and recent evidence to the presence of contract management behavior in the U.S. hospital industry. Unlike previous studies, which focus on either an input-demand equation or the cost function of the firm, this paper estimates the two jointly using a system of nonlinear equations. Moreover, it addresses the longitudinal problem of institutions adopting contract management in different years, by creating a matched control group of non-adopters with the same longitudinal distribution as the group under study. The estimation procedure then finds that labor, and not capital, is the preferred input in U.S. hospitals regardless of managerial contract status. With institutions that adopt contract management benefiting from lower labor inefficiencies than the simulated non-contract adopters. These results suggest that while there is a propensity for expense preference behavior towards the labor input, contract managed firms are able to introduce efficiencies over conventional, owner controlled, firms.

Using data for the years 1998 through 2007, the second essay investigates the production technology and cost efficiency faced by Florida hospitals. A stochastic frontier multiproduct cost function is estimated in order to test for economies of scale, economies of scope, and relative cost efficiencies. The results suggest that small-sized hospitals experience economies of scale, while large and medium sized institutions do not. The empirical findings show that Florida hospitals enjoy significant scope economies, regardless of size. Lastly, the evidence suggests that there is a link between hospital size and relative cost efficiency. The results of the study imply that state policy makers should be focused on increasing hospital scale for smaller institutions while facilitating the expansion of multiproduct production for larger hospitals.

The third and final essay employs a two staged approach in analyzing the efficiency of hospitals in the state of Florida. In the first stage, the Banker, Charnes, and Cooper model of Data Envelopment Analysis is employed in order to derive overall technical efficiency scores for each non-specialty hospital in the state. Additionally, input slacks are calculated and reported in order to identify the factors of production that each hospital may be over utilizing. In the second stage, we employ a Tobit regression model in order to analyze the effects a number of structural, managerial, and environmental factors may have on a hospital's efficiency. The results indicated that most non-specialty hospitals in the state are operating away from the efficient production frontier. The results also indicate that the structural make up, managerial choices, and level of competition Florida hospitals face have an impact on their overall technical efficiency.

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