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Four Empirical Essays on the Market for General Practitioners' Services

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  • Godager, Geir

    ()
    (Institute of Health Management and Health Economics)

Abstract

This dissertation consists of empirical essays within the subject of health economics. There are four essays in applied micro-econometrics and, as data in Essays 2 and 4 have a panel format, econometric methods for panel data are applied. Tobit-type models for limited dependent variables are applied in Essays 3 and 4, Nested logit models for choice of general practitioner (GP) are applied in Essay 1 and in Essay 2 modeling and estimation procedures involving latent structural variables are applied. The market for GPs' services is the recurrent theme, and a common feature of the empirical modeling and estimation conducted in the essays of this dissertation is that latent variables play an important role. There are several motivations for studying the market for GPs. GPs play a key role and constitute the cornerstone of the health care sector in Norway and other countries with a national health service. The GP is often a patient's first encounter with the health care sector. In Norway the GP also acts as a “gatekeeper”, and a referral from the GP is necessary in order to receive specialized care. Further, decisions made by GPs have a large impact on public spending such as sick-leave benefits and drug reimbursements. Due to this pivotal role of general practice, any research providing policy guidance for the sector will potentially have noticeable welfare effects. Studying this market may also provide advances in terms of enhanced understanding of economic behavior in general, and within the discipline of health economics in particular. Arrow's (1963) article describing various imperfections in the market for medical care is often considered to mark the founding of health economics (Culyer and Newhouse, 2000). Many of the peculiarities Arrow describes are, indeed, present in the market for GPs' services. Asymmetric information limits consumer sovereignty and creates challenges for designing appropriate contracts and payment mechanisms. Quality of services is diffcult to observe and quantify, and optimal consumption of health care services is diffcult to achieve. While the general research questions in health economics are relevant in the specific context of general practice, the conditions for knowledge accumulation seem favorable as well. The availability of detailed and disaggregated panel data enables identification and quantification of the mechanisms in focus by applying a large variety of modeling and estimation methods. In addition, one may argue that economic theory is well suited to model individual behavior and that assumptions of rational decision makers are more realistic when describing individuals such as GPs than when describing institutions such as hospitals. Fuchs (2000) describes two related missions of health economists: providing valuable input into health policy and enhancing understanding of economic behavior. Both missions motivate research on the market for GPs. Essays 1 and 2 in this dissertation focus mainly on factors influencing the patients' or consumers' decision to seek the services of a particular GP, while Essays 3 and 4 focus on factors influencing the GP's supply decision. The rest of the text proceeds as follows: The next subsection provides a brief introduction to the topic of this dissertation. Summaries of the four essays are given in subsection 1.3. Policy implications of the findings are presented in subsection 1.4. Limitations and ideas for future research are discussed in subsection 1.5. Complete versions of Essays 1-4 follow in sections 2-5.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Oslo University, Health Economics Research Programme in its series HERO On line Working Paper Series with number 2009:7.

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Length: 141 pages
Date of creation: 28 Sep 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:oslohe:2009_007

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Postal: HERO / Institute of Health Management and Health Economics P.O. Box 1089 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway
Phone: 2307 5309
Fax: 2307 5310
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Web page: http://www.hero.uio.no/eng.html
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Related research

Keywords: GP services; discrete choice; willingness-to-pay; health care demand; health care supply; general practice; patient shortage; dual job holding;

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References

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  1. Pau Olivella Cunill & Pedro Pita Barros, 2000. "Waiting Lists and Patient Selection," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0283, Econometric Society.
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  7. Kristiansen, Ivar Sønbø & Mooney, Gavin, 1993. "The general practitioner's use of time: Is it influenced by the remuneration system?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 393-399, August.
  8. Cragg, John G, 1971. "Some Statistical Models for Limited Dependent Variables with Application to the Demand for Durable Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(5), pages 829-44, September.
  9. Baltagi, Badi H. & Bratberg, Espen & Holmås, Tor Helge, 2003. "A panel data study of physicians’ labor supply: The case of Norway," Working Papers in Economics 01/03, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
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  11. Iversen, Tor & Luras, Hilde, 2000. "Economic motives and professional norms: the case of general medical practice," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 447-470, December.
  12. Iversen, Tor, 2004. "The effects of a patient shortage on general practitioners' future income and list of patients," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 673-694, July.
  13. Shishko, Robert & Rostker, Bernard, 1976. "The Economics of Multiple Job Holding," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(3), pages 298-308, June.
  14. Iversen, Tor & Lurås, Hilde, 2009. "The importance of micro-data for revaealing income motivated behaviour among GPs," HERO On line Working Paper Series 1999:3, Oslo University, Health Economics Research Programme.
  15. Showalter, Mark H. & Thurston, Norman K., 1997. "Taxes and labor supply of high-income physicians," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 73-97, October.
  16. Kathryn M. Langwell, 1982. "Factors Affecting the Incomes of Men and Women Physicians: Further Explorations," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(2), pages 261-275.
  17. Mroz, Thomas A, 1987. "The Sensitivity of an Empirical Model of Married Women's Hours of Work to Economic and Statistical Assumptions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(4), pages 765-99, July.
  18. Eggleston, Karen & Bir, Anupa, 2006. "Physician dual practice," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 78(2-3), pages 157-166, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Moger, Tron Anders & Kristiansen, Ivar Sønbø, 2012. "Direct and indirect costs of the Norwegian Breast Cancer Screening Program," HERO On line Working Paper Series 2012:3, Oslo University, Health Economics Research Programme.

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