Malpractice Laws and Incentives to Shield Assets: Evidence from Nursing Homes
50 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2014 Last revised: 4 Nov 2016
Date Written: March 28, 2014
Previous empirical studies of the incentive effects of medical malpractice liability have largely ignored the incentives of providers to restructure to protect assets. This study uses a large panel database to provide evidence on asset-shielding responses to the enactment of pro-plaintiff tort laws in the nursing home industry. The evidence suggests two important asset-shielding responses. First, large chains sold many homes in the affected states to smaller, more judgment-proof owners (with fewer assets, little or no insurance coverage and protective legal structures). Second, chains became relatively less likely to brand their homes with names that linked them directly to the central corporation or sister units (we provide legal and informational explanations for why branding units is likely to increase expected tort liability). In addition to extending the empirical literature on malpractice, the paper provides evidence on the horizontal ownership of service establishments, branding and the choice of business names.
Keywords: Malpractice, Brand, Ownership, Chain
JEL Classification: K13, L5, I1, G18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation