Robert Town

Department of Economics, University of Texas-Austin; National Bureau of Economic Research; Charles Rivers Associates

Current CV

Working Papers:

Optimal Managed Competition Subsidies (with Keaton Miller, Amil Petrin and Micheal Chernew)

Google Scholar

Publications in Peer Reviewed Journals:

Barrette, E., Gowrisankaran, G. and Town, R (2021) “Countervailing Market Power and Hospital Competition,” Review of Economic Statistics, forthcoming.

Starc, A. and Town, R. (2020) “Internalizing Behavioral Externalities: Benefit Integration in Health Insurance,” Review of Economic Studies, 87(6): 2827-2858.

Gowrisankaran, G., Marsh, T. and Town, R. (2020) “Myopia and Complex Dynamic Incentives: Evidence from Medicare Part D,” Review of Economic Studies, 87(2): 822-869.

Grennan, M. and Town, R. (2020) “Regulating Innovation with Uncertain Quality: Information, Risk, and Access in Medical Devices,” American Economic Review, 110(1):120-161. (Winner 2018 Public Utility Research Center (PURC) Prize for the best paper in regulatory economics International Industrial Organization Conference.)

Gowrisankaran, G., Lucarelli, C., Schmidt-Dengler, P., and Town, R. (2018) “Can Amputation Save the Hospital? The Impact of the Medicare Rural Flexibility Program on Demand and Welfare,” Journal of Health Economic, 58(1): 110-122.

Faherty, L., Wong, C., Feingold, J., Li, J., Town, R., Fieldstone, E., Werner, R. (2017) “Pediatric Price Transparency: Still Opaque with Opportunities for Improvement,” Hospital Pediatrics, 7(10): 565-571.

Bajari, P., Hong, H., Park, M. and Town, R. (2017) “Regression Discontinuity Designs with an Endogenous Forcing Variable and an Application to Contracting in Health Care.” Quantitative Economics, 8(2):397-433. (Winner of 2018 Willard G. Manning Memorial Award for the Best Research in Health Econometrics.)

Karaca-Mandic, P., Wilcock, A., Town, R. (2017) “The Effect of Physician and Hospital Market Structure on Medical Technology Diffusion,” Health Services Research, 52(2): 579-598.

Wong, C., Polsky, D., Jones, A., Weiner, J., Town, R. and Baker, T (2016) “For Third Enrollment Period Marketplaces Expand Decision Support Tools to Assist Consumers," Health Affairs, 35(4):680-687.

McCullough, J., Parente, S. and Town, R. (2016) “Health Information Technology and Patient Outcomes: The Role of Organizational and Information Complementarities,” RAND Journal of Economics, 47(1):207-236.

Wong, C., Nirenburg, G. Polsky, D. Town, R. and Baker, T. (2015) "Insurance Plan Presentation and Decision Support on HealthCare.Gov and State-Based Websites Created for the Affordable Care Act,” Annals of Internal Medicine, 163(4): 327-328.

Wong, C, Asch, D., Ford, C., Baker, T., Town, R and Merchant, R. (2015) “Seeing Health Insurance and Through the Eyes of Young Adults,” Journal of Adolescent Health, 57(2): 137-143.

Wong, C., Sap, M., Schwartz, M., Town, R., Baker, T. and Unger, L. (2015) “Twitter Sentiment Predicts Affordable Care Act Marketplace Enrollment,” Journal of Medical Internet Research, 17(2): e51.

Choi, J-Y, Baumgartner J., Alexander, B., Town, R., D’Souza, G., and Ramachandran G. (2015) “Increased Risk of Respiratory Illness Associated with Kerosene Fuel Use Among Women and Children in Urban Bangalore, India,” Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 72:114-122.

Sojourner, A., Town, R., Grabowski, D., Chen, M. and Frandsen, B. (2015) “Impacts of Unionization on Employment, Product Quality, and Productivity: Regression Discontinuity Evidence From Nursing Homes,” ILR Review, 68(4):

Gowrisankaran, G., Nevo, A. and Town, R. (2015) “Estimating the Price Impact of Hospital Mergers: An Analysis of Inova's Proposed Acquisition of Prince William Hospital,” American Economics Review, 105(1): 172 -203. (Winner Best Academic Mergers Article - 2016 Antitrust Writing Awards)

Gaynor, M, Ho, K. and Town, R. (2015) “The Industrial Organization of Health Care Markets,” Journal of Economic Literature,53(2): 235-84.

Wong, C., Asch, D, Vinoya, C., Ford, C., Baker, T., Town, R. and Merchant, R. (2014) “The Experience of Young Adults on Suggestions for Improvement,” Annals of Internal Medicine, 161(3): 231-232.

Lee, J., McCullough, J., and Town, R. (2013) “The Impact of Health Information Technology on Hospital Productivity.” RAND Journal of Economics, 44(3): 545-568.

Park, M. and Town, R. (2014) “Industry Shock Expectations, Interindustry Linkages, and Merger Waves: Evidence from the Hospital Industry,” Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, 23(3):548-567.

Spetz, J., Parente, S., Bazarko, D. and Town, R. (2013) “Scope Of Practice Laws For Nurse Practitioners Limit Cost Savings That Can Be Achieved In Retail Clinics,” Health Affairs, 32(11): 1977-84.

Herrera, C., Newman, D., Gaynor, M., Parente, S. and Town, R. (2013) “What’s happening to health care costs for the privately insured? Trends in employer-sponsored health insurance (2007–2011),” Health Affairs, 32(10):1715-1722.

Pauly, M. and Town, R. (2012) “Counterpoint: Maryland Exceptionalism? All-Payers Regulation and Health Care SystemEfficiency” Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, 37(4): 697-707.

Adair, R., Christianson, J., Wholey, D., White, K., Town, R, Lee, S, Britt, H., Lund, P., Lukasewycz, A., and Elumba, D. (2012), “Care Guides: Employing Nonclinical Laypersons to Help Primary Care Teams Manage Chronic Disease,” Journal of Ambulatory Care Management, 35(1): 27-37.

Grabowski, D. and Town, R. (2011) “Does Information Matter? Competition, Quality and the Impact of Nursing Home Report Cards.” Health Services Research, 46(6): 1689-1719.

Feldman, R., Town, R. and Kraleweski, J. (2011) “Market Power and Contract Form: Evidence from Physician Practices.” International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, 11(2): 327-342.

Gowrisankaran, G., Lucarelli, C., Schmidt-Dengler, P. and Town, R. (2011) “The Impact of the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program on Patient Choice.” International Journal of Industrial Organization, 29 (3): 342-344.

Town, R. (2011) “The Effects of Consolidations on Hospital Quality: A Comment,” International Journal of the Economics of Business, 18(1): 127-131.

Gowrisankaran, G., Town, R. and Barrette, E. (2011) “Drug Benefits, Managed Care and Mortality: An Analysis of Elderly Mortality,” The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, 11(2) (Advances), Article 3.

Sojourner, A., Grabowski, D., Chen, M. and Town, R. (2010) “Trends in Unionization of Nursing Homes,” Inquiry, 47: 331–342 (Winter 2010/2011).

Chernew, M., DeCicca, P. and Town, R. (2008) “Managed Care and Medical Expenditures of Medicare Beneficiaries,” Journal of Health Economics, 27: 1451-1461.

Hirsch, A., Virnig, B., Hartman, L. and Town, R. (2008) “National Healthcare Cost of Peripheral Arterial Disease in the Medicare Population, Vascular Medicine, 13(3): 209-215.

Ricciardi, R. Harriman, K., Baxter, N. Hartman, L., Town, R., and Virnig, B. (2008) “Predictors of Clostridium Difficile Colitis Infections in Hospitals,” Epidemiology and Infection, 136(7): 913-921.

Foote, S., Virnig, B., Town, R. and Hartman, L. (2008) “The Impact of Medicare Coverage Policies on Health Care Utilization,” Health Services Research, 43(4): 1285-1301.

Foote, S. and Town, R. (2007) “Managing Technology: Achieving Evidence-Based Medicine through Medicare Coverage Policy Implementation,” Health Affairs, 26(6): 1634-1642.

Town, R., Wholey, D., Feldman, R. and Burns, L.R. (2007) “Hospital Consolidation Increases Racial and Income Disparities in Health Insurance Coverage" Health Affairs, 26(4): 1170-1180.

Town, R., Wholey, D., Feldman, R. and Burns, L.R. (2007) “Revisiting the Relationship between Managed Care and Hospital Consolidation,” Health Services Research, 42(1): 219-238.

Hayes, J., Shapiro, C. and Town, R. (2007) “Market Definition in Crude Oil: Estimating the Effects of the BP/ARCO Merger,”The Antitrust Bulletin, 52(2): 179-204.

Ho, V., Town, R. and Heslin, M. (2006) “Regionalization versus Competition in Complex Cancer Surgery” Health Economics, Policy and Law, 2(1): 51-71.

Dowd, B., Feldman, R., Nyman, J. and Town, R. (2006-2007) “Setting Physicians’ Prices in Fee-for-Service Medicare” Health Care Financing Review, 28(2): 97-111.

Ricciardi, R., Town, R., Kellogg, T. and Baxter, N. (2006) “Outcomes after Open versus Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass,” Surgical Laparoscopy Endoscopy and Percutaneous Techniques, 6(5): 317-20.

Town, R, Kane, R., Johnson, P., and Butler, M. (2005) “The Effect of Economic Incentives on Physicians' Preventive Behavior,” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 28(2): 234-240.

Town, R., Feldman, R. and Wholey, D. (2004) “The Impact of Ownership Conversions on HMO Performance,” International Journal of Health Finance and Economics, 4(4): 327-342.

Kane, R., Johnson, P., Town, R. and Butler, M. (2004) “A Structured Review of the Effect of Economic Incentives on Consumers' Preventive Behavior,” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 27(4): 327-352.

Antonovics, K. and Town, R. (2004) “Are All the Good Men Married: Uncovering the Sources of the Marital Wage Premium” American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, May, 94(2): 317-321.

Town, R., Wholey, D., Dowd, B. and Kralewski, J. (2004) “Assessing the Influence of Incentives on Physicians and Medical Groups,” Medical Care Research and Review, 61: 80S - 118S.

Town, R. and Liu, S. (2003) “The Welfare Impact of Medicare HMOs,” The RAND Journal of Economics, 34(4): 719-736.

Gowrisankaran, G., and Town, R. (2003) “Competition, Payers and Hospital Quality,” Health Services Research, 38(6): 1403-1421.

Geweke, J, Gowrisankaran, G., and Town, R. (2003) “Inferring Hospital Quality from Patient Discharge Records Using a Bayesian Selection Model,” Econometrica, 71(4):1215-1238.

Town, R. and Currim, I. (2002) “Hospital Advertising in California: 1991-1997” Inquiry, 39(3): 298-313.

Town, R. (2001) “The Welfare Effects of HMO Mergers,” Journal of Health Economics, 20(6): 967-90.

Elvira, M. and Town, R. (2001) “Employment Outcome Differentials and Performance for Employees in a Racially Diverse U.S. Firm,” Industrial Relations, 40(4): 571-50.

Town, R. and Vistnes, G. (2001) “Hospital Competition in HMO Networks,” Journal of Health Economics, 20(4): 733-53.

Gowrisankaran, G. and Town, R. (1999) “Estimating the Quality of Care in Hospitals Using Instrumental Variables,” Journal of Health Economics, 18(6): 747-767

Gowrisankaran, G. and Town, R. (1997) “Dynamic Equilibrium in the Hospital Industry,” Journal of Economics and Management Strategy,” 6(1): 45-74

Town, R. (1992) “Merger Waves and the Structure of Merger and Acquisition Time Series,” Journal of Applied Econometrics, 7: S83-100, December. Reprinted in Nonlinear Dynamics, Chaos and Econometrics, H. Pesaran and S. Potter, ed., Wiley Press, 1993.

Book Chapters:

Olley, G. S. and Town, R. (2018) “End of an Era: The American Airlines-US Airways Merger,” in The Antitrust Revolution: Economics, Competition and Policy, 7th Edition, Kwoka, J and White, L. editors. New York: Oxford University Press.

Gaynor, M and Town, R. (2011) “Provider Competition,” in Handbook of Health Economics, Vol 2, Borras, P., McGuire, T. and Pauly, M., eds., Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Town, R. and Milliman, S. (1989) “Competition in Deregulated Airlines,” in Concentration and Price, Leonard Weiss, ed., MIT Press.

Reports and Monographs:

Gaynor, M and Town, R. (2012) “The Impact of Hospital Consolidation – Update,” Robert Wood Johnson Synthesis Report.

Vogt, William and Town, R. (2006) “How has Hospital Consolidation Affected the Price and Quality of Hospital Care?” Robert Wood Johnson Synthesis Report.

Dowd, B. and Town, R. (2002) Does X Cause Y, HCFO Monograph.