Abstract

We study the effect of public subsidies from the Hill-Burton program on hospital capacity, organization of the hospital industry, and utilization. We estimate that the program accounted for a net increase of over 70,000 beds nationwide and that these effects lasted well beyond twenty years. We also show that differences in the number of hospital beds per capita between high- and low-income counties, rural and urban counties, and the South and the rest of the country fell substantially. We conclude that the program largely achieved its goals, with substantial and long-lasting effects on the U.S. hospital industry.

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