Estimating returns to hospital volume: Evidence from advanced cancer surgery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


High-volume hospitals typically perform better than low-volume hospitals. In this paper, we study whether such patterns reflect a causal effect of case volume on patient outcomes. To this end, we exploit closures and openings of entire cancer clinics in Swedish hospitals which provides sharp and arguably exogenous variation in case volumes. Using detailed register data on more than 100,000 treatment episodes of advanced cancer surgery, our results suggest substantial positive effects of operation volume on survival. Complementary analyses point to learning-by-doing as an important explanation.


External organisations
  • University of Duisburg-Essen
  • Institute of Labor Economics
  • Uppsala University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy


  • Cancer surgery, Causal effect, Hospital case volume, Learning-by-doing, Survival
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-99
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Health Economics
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch