Identifying the relationship between length of hospital stay and the probability of readmission

Michael D. Makowsky, Eili Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We estimate the effect of hospital length of stay (LOS) on the probability of 30-day readmission for 516,768 patients hospitalized with heart failure in California from 2005 to 2011. We use hospital crowding as an instrumental variable to control for bias from omitted health characteristics. Our results suggest that the literature, which has for 30 years identified readmission rates increasing with LOS, has not controlled for omitted variable bias when estimating the benefits from a patient’s hospital stay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Economics Letters
Publication statusAccepted/In press - May 8 2017



  • Length of hospital stay
  • Prospective Payment System
  • readmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics

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