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American Economic Journal: Economic Policy: Vol. 4 No. 1 (February 2012)

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Do Strikes Kill? Evidence from New York State

Article Citation

Gruber, Jonathan, and Samuel A. Kleiner. 2012. "Do Strikes Kill? Evidence from New York State." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 4(1): 127-57.

DOI: 10.1257/pol.4.1.127

Abstract

Hospitals now represent one of the largest union sectors of the US economy, and there is particular concern about the impact of strikes on patient welfare. We analyze the effects of nurses' strikes in hospitals on patient outcomes in New York State. Controlling for hospital specific heterogeneity, the results show that nurses' strikes increase in-hospital mortality by 18.3 percent and 30-day readmission by 5.7 percent for patients admitted during a strike, with little change in patient demographics, disease severity or treatment intensity. The results suggest that hospitals functioning during nurses' strikes do so at a lower quality of patient care. (JEL H75, I11, I12, J52)

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Authors

Gruber, Jonathan (MIT)
Kleiner, Samuel A. (Cornell U)

JEL Classifications

H75: State and Local Government: Health; Education; Welfare; Public Pensions
I11: Analysis of Health Care Markets
I12: Health Production
J52: Dispute Resolution: Strikes, Arbitration, and Mediation; Collective Bargaining

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