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Specialization and matching in professional services firms

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  • Andrew J. Epstein
  • Jonathan D. Ketcham
  • Sean Nicholson

Abstract

Economic theory indicates that firms can match workers to jobs and promote productivity-enhancing specialization better than markets, yet few data exist. We empirically test whether firms enhance matching and specialization in the context of obstetrics. We then examine whether consumers benefit from this. We find that high-risk patients in group practices match with specialists more than patients of solo physicians, and this improves patients' health outcomes. Matching based on a patient's clinical need for a cesarean section delivery and a physician's cesarean section skill also occurs, but less extensively. These results support the hypothesis that firms facilitate matching and specialization. Copyright (c) 2010, RAND..

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew J. Epstein & Jonathan D. Ketcham & Sean Nicholson, 2010. "Specialization and matching in professional services firms," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(4), pages 811-834.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:randje:v:41:y:2010:i:4:p:811-834
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Joskow, Paul L, 1974. "Inflation and Environmental Concern: Structural Change in the Process of Public Utility Price Regulation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 291-327, October.
    6. Severin Borenstein & Meghan Busse & Ryan Kellogg, 2007. "Principal-agent Incentives, Excess Caution, and Market Inefficiency: Evidence From Utility Regulation," NBER Working Papers 13679, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Simona Grassi & Ching-to Albert Ma, 2016. "Information Acquisition, Referral, and Organization," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series wp2016-005, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    2. Fabio Landini & Antonio Nicolò & Marco Piovesan, 2013. "The Hidden Cost of Specialization," IFRO Working Paper 2013/9, University of Copenhagen, Department of Food and Resource Economics.
    3. Andrew J. Epstein & Sean Nicholson & David A. Asch, 2013. "The Production of and Market for New Physicians' Skill," NBER Working Papers 18678, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Simona Grassi & Ching-To Albert Ma, 2015. "Information Acquisition, Referral, and Organization," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series wp2015-007, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    5. Marie Allard & Izabela Jelovac & Pierre-Thomas Léger, 2014. "Payment mechanism and GP self-selection: capitation versus fee for service," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, pages 143-160.
    6. Andrew J. Epstein & Sean Nicholson & David A. Asch, 2016. "The Production of and Market for New Physicians’ Skill," American Journal of Health Economics, MIT Press, vol. 2(1), pages 41-65, January.

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