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Privatization and Quality: Evidence from Elderly Care in Sweden

by Giancarlo Spagnolo (with M.A. Bergman and S. Lundberg), SITE Working Paper

Many quality dimensions are hard to contract upon and are at risk of degradation when services are procured rather than produced in-house. However, procurement may foster performance-improving innovation. We assemble a large data set on elderly care services in Sweden between 1990 and 2009, including survival rates - our measure of non-contractible quality - and subjectively perceived quality of service. We estimate how procurement from private providers affects these measures using a difference-in-difference approach. The results indicate that procurement significantly increases non-contractible quality as measured by survival rate, reduces the cost per resident but does not affect subjectively perceived quality.

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