The Economics of Hospitals

- Competition, Price Incentives, Non-profit status and Waiting Times

PhD course with lecturer Luigi Siciliani. The course is free of charge, but has a limit of 20 participants. Please register before May 13.


Professor Luigi Siciliani, Department of Economics and Related Studies, University of York

Course content

The course will give an overview of the vast empirical literature investigating the determinants of hospital behaviour with a particular focus on quality and empirical methods.

The course will focus on three main policy leavers: competition and choice policy; price incentives through a DRG-type of system; profit versus non-profit status. The module will also explore the role of waiting time in the provision of hospital services.

Each topic will be introduced by a theoretical framework following by a detailed analysis of empirical (econometric) methods and key empirical results. Empirical models will cover cross-sectional, panel-data models, instrumental variables approach, and natural experiments.

The course is relevant for PhD candidates who draw on quantitiative methods in their research.

Learning outcomes

When the course has been completed the student should be able to:


  • describe how hospitals respond to economic incentives
  • explain different policy levers to influence hospital behaviour
  • describe different methods to test specific assumptions about hospital behaviour, and to characterise their strengths and weaknesses


  • critically appraise empirical studies on hospital behaviour
  • design an empirical study on hospital behaviour
  • identify appropriate statistical/econometric method to investigate hospital data
  • analyse hospital data
  • discuss how competition and choice policies might affect hospital quality and waiting times

General competence

  • critically evaluate studies using hospital data
  • critically assess empirical analyses in relation to posed policy-relevant research question
  • raise critical questions to your own research
  • reflect on the general ideas on how to test specific assumptions on hospital behavior

Time schedule

09.00-  11.00 Lecture with Luigi Siciliani
01.00 - 02.30

Student presentations will cover

  1. a paper from the reading list
  2. a thesis chapter
03.00 - 04.00

Question and answer session and open discussion

Luigi will first ask some questions in related to material covered, answer questions from the students, and from the second day cover answers of the problem set given to students at the end of each day (on which students can work from 4 pm onwards for about an hour which has to be submitted in the following morning).


After the course, students will submit a short essay answering a question from a short list.

Registration (waiting list)

There is no participation fee, but a limit of 20 participants. We have already 20 registrations, but you can register on the waiting list before May 13:

Published Apr. 5, 2016 10:58 AM - Last modified June 6, 2016 9:12 AM