The Unregulated Certification Mark(et) by Jeanne C. Fromer :: SSRN

February 12, 2017

Certification mark law — a branch of trademark law — itself enables consequences that undermine the law’s own goals through inadequate regulation or oversight. Because the law allows certification standards to be kept vague, high-level, and underdeveloped, a certifier can choose to exclude certain businesses inconsistently or arbitrarily, even when those businesses’ goods or services would seem to qualify for the certification mark (particularly to consumers). Moreover, even when a certification standard is clear and complete, certifiers can wield their marks anticompetitively. They can do so through redefinition — something certification mark law currently allows without oversight — to ensure that certain businesses’ goods or services will not qualify for the mark. Both of these forms of certification mark manipulation undermine the goals of certification marks: to protect consumers by providing them with succinct information on goods’ or services’ characteristics and to promote competition by ensuring that any businesses’ goods or services sharing certain characteristics salient to consumers qualify for a mark certifying those characteristics. The law should be restructured to curb this conduct. I advocate for robust procedural regulation of certification standardmaking and decisionmaking that would detect and punish poor certification behavior. Moreover, for anticompetitive behavior that nonetheless slips through the regulatory cracks, I suggest that attentive antitrust scrutiny be arrayed to catch it.

Source: The Unregulated Certification Mark(et) by Jeanne C. Fromer :: SSRN


Anonymity, Autonomy, and the Collection of Personal Data: Measuring the Privacy Impact of Google’s 2012 Privacy Policy Change by James C. Cooper :: SSRN

February 7, 2017

One of the most vexing problems in privacy policy is identifying consumer harm from unwanted observation; because it is highly subjective and is likely to vary greatly throughout the population, it doesn’t lend itself to easy measurement. Yet, these types of situations increasingly are the focal point of privacy policy discussions. The primary approach to attempt to quantify subjective harms has been to measure consumers’ willingness to exchange personal data for money in an experimental setting. This study takes a different tack, using field data to measure actual consumer response to a real-world reduction in the anonymity of online search. In March 2012, Google began to combine user information across platforms. To the extent that Google’s policy change reduced the anonymity associated with Google search, it may have reduced incentives to search sensitive or topics. Using a difference-in-difference estimator with top non-sensitive search terms as the control group, the results suggest that there was a small and short-term reduction in the Google Trends scores for sensitive search. There is no measured difference in reaction between high- and low-privacy demand states. Overall, the results indicate that any consumer welfare loss from Google’s policy change was small, and likely swamped by the demand-increasing impact of customization made possible from the cross-platform data sharing. That there is no measurable long-term substitution out of sensitive search may reflect the privacy advantages of searching for sensitive information on Google versus seeking the same information in an interpersonal setting. These findings suggest that privacy policy changes that are publicized should be treated like ordinary price changes — causing marginal consumers to exit and reducing consumer surplus for those who remain — not opportunities for regulatory intervention.

Source: Anonymity, Autonomy, and the Collection of Personal Data: Measuring the Privacy Impact of Google’s 2012 Privacy Policy Change by James C. Cooper :: SSRN


The Mysterious Case of Ohio’s Disappearing Price Transparency Law | THCB

February 4, 2017

Starting January 1, 2017, the Ohio Healthcare Price Transparency Law requires that patients in Ohio must receive a good-faith estimate of the cost for anticipated healthcare services they are scheduled to receive.  Emergencies are obviously excluded, including hospital admissions for acute issues.  The estimate must provide the amount to be charged, the insurance share and the patient share.

Source: The Mysterious Case of Ohio’s Disappearing Price Transparency Law | THCB


Incentives and Ethics in the Economics of Body Parts by Nicola Lacetera :: SSRN

February 4, 2017

Recent research shows that properly devised economic incentives increase the supply of blood without hampering its safety; similar effects may be expected also for other body parts such as bone marrow and organs. These positive effects alone, however, do not necessarily justify the introduction of payments for supplying body parts; these activities concern contested commodities or repugnant transactions, i.e. societies may want to prevent certain ways to regulate a transaction even if they increased supply, because of ethical concerns. When transactions concern contested commodities, therefore, societies often face trade-offs between the efficiency-enhancing effects of trades mediated by a monetary price, and the moral opposition to the provision of these payments. In this essay, I first describe and discuss the current debate on the role of moral repugnance in controversial markets, with a focus on markets for organs, tissues, blood and plasma. I then report on recent research focused on understanding the trade-offs that individuals face when forming their opinions about how a society should organize certain transactions.

Source: Incentives and Ethics in the Economics of Body Parts by Nicola Lacetera :: SSRN


Maryland’s All-Payer Model—Achievements, Challenges, And Next Steps

February 1, 2017

Maryland committed to limiting the growth in the per capita hospital revenues for all payers to the long-term growth rate of the State’s economy (3.58 percent per year). Actual growth was much lower (1.47 percent in 2014 and 2.31 percent in 2015), and the year-to-date growth in 2016 over 2015 was 0.35 percent per capita (Exhibit 1). This success is largely attributable to the efforts of hospitals and others working under the global payment system. Lower inflation and reductions in uncompensated care also contributed.

Source: Maryland’s All-Payer Model—Achievements, Challenges, And Next Steps


Competition and Hospital Quality: Evidence from a French Natural Experiment by Carine Milcent :: SSRN

February 1, 2017

We evaluate the effect of a pro-competition reform gradually introduced in France over the 2004-2008 period on hospital quality measured with the mortality of heart-attack patients. Our analysis distinguishes between hospitals depending on their status: public (university or non-teaching), non-profit or for-profit. These hospitals differ in their degree of managerial and financial autonomy as well as their reimbursement systems and incentives for competition before the reform, but they are all under a DRG-based payment system after the reform. For each hospital status, we assess the benefits of local competition in terms of decrease in mortality after the reform. We estimate a duration model for mortality stratified at the hospital level to take into account hospital unobserved heterogeneity and censorship in the duration of stays in a flexible way. Estimations are conducted using an exhaustive dataset at the patient level over the 1999-2011 period. We find that non-profit hospitals, which have managerial autonomy and no incentive for competition before the reform, enjoyed larger declines in mortality in places where there is greater competition than in less competitive markets.

Source: Competition and Hospital Quality: Evidence from a French Natural Experiment by Carine Milcent :: SSRN


Health Complaints and Regulatory Reform: Implications for Vulnerable Populations? by Terry Carney, Fleur Aileen Beaupert, Mary Chiarella, Belinda Bennett, Merrilyn Walton, Patrick Kelly, Claudette Satchell :: SSRN

February 1, 2017

Complaints and disciplinary processes play a significant role in health professional regulation. Many countries are transitioning from models of self-regulation to greater external oversight through systems including meta regulation, responsive (risk–based) regulation, and “networked governance”. Such systems harness, in differing ways, public, private, professional and non-governmental bodies to exert influence over the conduct of health professionals and services. Interesting literature is emerging regarding complainants’ motivations and experiences, the impact of complaints processes on health professionals and identification of features such as complainant and health professional profiles, types of complaints and outcomes. This paper concentrates on studies identifying vulnerable groups and their participation in health care regulatory systems.

Source: Health Complaints and Regulatory Reform: Implications for Vulnerable Populations? by Terry Carney, Fleur Aileen Beaupert, Mary Chiarella, Belinda Bennett, Merrilyn Walton, Patrick Kelly, Claudette Satchell :: SSRN