Human Capital and Organizational Performance: Evidence from the Healthcare Sector
52 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2011
Date Written: September 2011
This paper contributes to the literature on the relationship between human capital and organizational performance. We use detailed longitudinal monthly data on nursing units in the Veterans Administration hospital system to identify how the human capital (general, hospital-specific and unit or team-specific) of the nursing team on the unit affects patients' outcomes. Since we use monthly, not annual, data, we are able to avoid the omitted variable bias and endogeneity bias that could result when annual data are used. Nurse staffing levels, general human capital, and unit-specific human capital have positive and significant effects on patient outcomes while the use of contract nurses, who have less specific capital than regular staff nurses, negatively impacts patient outcomes. Policies that would increase the specific human capital of the nursing staff are found to be cost-effective.
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