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The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Jürges, Hendrik / Ludwig, Sandra

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Volume 11, Issue 2 (Jan 2011)


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Data Impediments to Empirical Work on Health Insurance Markets

Leemore Dafny
  • 1Northwestern University,
/ David Dranove
  • 2Northwestern University,
/ Frank Limbrock
  • 3Northwestern University,
/ Fiona Scott Morton
  • 4Yale School of Management,
Published Online: 2011-01-03 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2202/1935-1682.2822


We compare four datasets that researchers might use to study competition in the health insurance industry. We show that the two datasets most commonly used to estimate market concentration differ considerably from each other (both in levels and in changes over time), and reflect implausibly high volatility in market shares. By comparison, market share volatility is much lower in a private dataset gathered by a leading investment bank, and in state-level hospital discharge data. We also demonstrate that the outcome of regressions using these data vary considerably by the source used. We conclude that researchers should be cautious about using available data and recommend a new source be developed for public use.

Keywords: market structure; concentration; health insurance

About the article

Published Online: 2011-01-03

Citation Information: The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, ISSN (Online) 1935-1682, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2202/1935-1682.2822. Export Citation

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