Price discrimination in obstetric services: A case study in Bangladesh

Abstract

This article examines the existence of price discrimination for obstetric services in two private hospitals in Bangladesh, and considers the welfare consequences of such discrimination, i.e. whether or not price discrimination benefited the poorer users. data on 1212 normal and caesarean section patients discharged from the two hospitals were obtained. Obstetric services were chosen because they are relatively standardised and the patient population is relatively homogenous. This was important in order to minimise the scope and scale of product differentiation due to procedure and case-mix differences. The differences between the hospital list price for delivery and actual prices paid by patients were calculated to determine the average rate of discount. the welfare consequences of price discrimination were assessed by testing the differences inmean prices paid by patients from three income groups: low, middle and high. The results suggest that two different forms of price discrimination for obstetric services occurred in both these hospitals. First, there was price discrimination according to income, with the poorer users benefiting from a higher discount rate than richer ones; and second, there was price discrimination according to social status, with three high status occupational groups (doctors, senior government officials, and large business men) having the highest probability of receiving some level of discount.

Citation

Health Economics Letters (2004) 13 (6) 597-604 [DOI: 10.1002/hec.848]

Price discrimination in obstetric services: A case study in Bangladesh

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