Institutional Drivers of Reporting Decisions in Nonprofit Hospitals
Journal of Accounting Research, 2011

This study by Associate Professor Michelle Yetman and co-author Ranjani Krishnan from the Broad School of Business at Michigan State University examines the influence of normative and regulative institutional factors on cost shifting by nonprofit hospitals in their publicly reported statements.

The authors explore whether normative constraints imposed by stakeholders, who prefer that nonprofit hospitals allocate their resources toward patient-related program services, influence the extent to which nonprofit hospitals shift costs toward program services and away from administrative and fundraising categories, thereby appearing more efficient. The study also explores whether regulative factors, such as oversight, influence cost shifting behaviors.

Results indicate that nonprofit hospitals facing higher normative pressures to demonstrate efficiency shift costs to a greater extent, and hospitals facing higher regulatory oversight shift costs to a lesser extent. Consistent with prior research, the authors also find that hospitals that obtain higher donations revenue shift costs to a greater extent. These results show that, in addition to economic factors documented by prior literature, institutional factors also influence nonprofit hospitals’ cost shifting behaviors.