Thomas Stratmann

Thomas Stratmann

  • Mercatus Center Scholar
  • University Professor of Economics, George Mason University

Thomas Stratmann is a scholar at the Mercatus Center and university professor of economics at George Mason University. His primary research interests are political economy, fiscal policy, law and economics, health economics, and experimental economics.

Dr. Stratmann has written on topics of political economy and applied microeconomics and has published in journals such as the American Economic Review, American Journal of Political Science, American Political Science Review, Journal of Political Economy, Review of Economics and Statistics, and the Journal of Law and Economics

Dr. Stratmann received his BA from the Free University of Berlin and his MA and PhD in economics from the University of Maryland.

Published Research

Working Papers

Thomas Stratmann, Christopher Koopman | Feb 18, 2016
We examine the effect of entry regulation on ambulatory surgical centers and community hospitals and find that there are both more rural hospitals and more rural ambulatory surgical centers per capita in states without a certificate-of-need program regulating the opening of an ambulatory surgical center. This finding indicates that certificate-of-need laws may not be protecting access to rural health care, but are instead correlated with decreases in rural access.
Thomas Stratmann, Matthew C. Baker | Jan 12, 2016
Certificate of need (CON) laws in 21 states restrict acquisition of imaging equipment, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), and positron emission tomography (PET) scans. We compare the effect of CON regulations for imaging services provided by hospitals and other providers to determine whether CON laws affect use of imaging services across provider types. We find that services by nonhospital providers, but not by hospital providers, are negatively associated with CON laws. We also find that CON laws reduce the overall number of medical providers, suggesting less availability of imaging services in CON states. We provide evidence consistent with this result showing that residents of CON states are more likely to travel out of state to obtain imaging services than are residents of non-CON states. These results imply that the effect of CON is heterogeneous on hospitals and nonhospitals, affecting the market structure for imaging services.
Thomas Stratmann, Joshua Wojnilower | Feb 19, 2015
Using monthly US data on project-grant awards in 2009 and 2010, we study which objectives presidents pursue in distributing resources. We also address theoretical and empirical ambiguities regarding when and which congressional districts receive distributive benefits. Our results show that core constituencies of the president’s party receive more federal funding in both presidential and congressional elections.
Thomas Stratmann, Jake Russ | Jul 15, 2014
In a new empirical study of CON regulation and indigent care, economists Thomas Stratmann and Jacob W. Russ find no evidence that CON regulations increase indigent care, but they do find evi­dence that the regulations limit the provision of medical services. Consequently, the price of medi­cal care is likely higher under CON regulations, while the poorest Americans see no increase in the availability of care.

Charts

Policy Briefs

Christopher Koopman, Thomas Stratmann, Scott Eastman | May 17, 2016
Certificate-of-need (CON) programs are state laws that require government permission for healthcare providers to open or expand a practice or to invest in certain devices or technology. These programs have been justified on the basis of achieving several public policy goals, including controlling costs and increasing access to healthcare services in rural areas. Little work has been done, however, to measure what effects CON programs have on access and distribution of healthcare services. Two recent studies that examined the relationship between a state’s CON program and access to care found that these laws failed to achieve their stated goals.
Christopher Koopman, Thomas Stratmann, Scott Eastman | May 16, 2016
Certificate-of-need (CON) programs are state laws that require government permission for healthcare providers to open or expand a practice or to invest in certain devices or technology. These programs have been justified on the basis of achieving several public policy goals, including controlling costs and increasing access to healthcare services in rural areas. Little work has been done, however, to measure what effects CON programs have on access and distribution of healthcare services. Two recent studies that examined the relationship between a state’s CON program and access to care found that these laws failed to achieve their stated goals.
Christopher Koopman, Thomas Stratmann, Mohamad Elbarasse | Jun 09, 2015
Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia currently limit entry or expansion of health care facilities through certificate-of-need (CON) programs. These programs prohibit health care providers from entering new markets or making changes to their existing capacity without first gaining the approval of state regulators. Since 1975, Arkansas has been among the states that restrict the supply of health care in this way, with six devices and services—including nursing home beds and long term care beds, psychiatric services, and assisted living and residential care facilities—requiring a certificate of need from the state before the device may be purchased or the service offered.
Christopher Koopman, Thomas Stratmann, Mohamad Elbarasse | Jun 02, 2015
Since 1977, West Virginia has been among the states that restrict the supply of health care in this way, with 21 devices and services—including acute hospital beds, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scanners—requiring a certificate of need from the state before the device may be purchased or the service offered.

Testimony & Comments

Research Summaries & Toolkits

Expert Commentary

Mar 06, 2016

If judged only by their intentions, COPN laws are certainly praiseworthy. Controlling costs, increasing access, and getting care to those in need should be at the center of any debate over healthcare. Judged by their effects, however, COPN laws have failed.
Jan 11, 2016

An important but overlooked debate is unfolding in several states: When governments restrict market forces in health care, who benefits? Legislative majorities in 36 states believe that consumers benefit, because restrictions help control health-care costs. But new research confirms what should be common sense: Preventing qualified health-care providers from freely plying their trade results in less access to care.
Feb 19, 2015

New research demonstrates that presidents actually target politically important constituencies with federal funds just as much as Congress does and that that institutional incentives can largely determine outcomes regardless of which individual or individuals are in charge. We should therefore seek to understand existing institutional incentives better before we make dramatic changes.
By Thomas Stratmann, Darpana M. Sheth |
Oct 14, 2014

The most pernicious aspect of CON programs is that they remove the ability of consumers to dictate which medical services are available, turning that power over to regulators and medical providers. That's foolish. Building a 21st century health care system will take experimentation. The last thing states should do is stand in the way of medical entrepreneurs.

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Thomas Stratmann

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