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Bargaining Over Labour: Do Patients Have Any Power?

  • JOSHUA S. GANS
  • ANDREW LEIGH

Using data on births from Australia, we estimate the level of patient bargaining power in negotiations over birth timing. In doing so, we exploit the fact that parents do not like to have children born on the “inauspicious” dates of February 29 and April 1. We show that, in general, the birth rate is lower on these dates, and argue that this reflects parent preferences. When these inauspicious dates abut a weekend, this creates a potential conflict between avoiding the inauspicious date, and avoiding the weekend. We find that in approximately three-quarters of cases, this conflict is resolved in favor of the physician. This suggests that while doctors have more power than patients, patients are sometimes able to influence medical decisions for non-medical reasons.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1475-4932.2011.00776.x
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Article provided by The Economic Society of Australia in its journal The Economic Record.

Volume (Year): 88 (2012)
Issue (Month): 281 (06)
Pages: 182-194

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ecorec:v:88:y:2012:i:281:p:182-194
DOI: j.1475-4932.2011.00776.x
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  1. Joshua S. Gans & Andrew Leigh, 2006. "Born on the First of July: An (Un)natural Experiment in Birth Timing," CEPR Discussion Papers 529, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  2. Henry Ohlsson, Michael Neugart and, 2009. "Economic incentives and the timing of births: Evidence from the German parental benefit reform 2007," Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies 2009:10, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  3. Gans, Joshua S. & Leigh, Andrew & Varganova, Elena, 2007. "Minding the shop: The case of obstetrics conferences," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(7), pages 1458-1465, October.
  4. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
  5. Brown, H. III, 1996. "Physician demand for leisure: implications for cesarean section rates," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 233-242, April.
  6. Stacy Dickert-Conlin & Amitabh Chandra, 1999. "Taxes and the Timing of Birth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 161-177, February.
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