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Demanding Customers: Consumerist Patients and Quality of Care

Author

Listed:
  • Fang Hai

    () (University of Colorado Denver)

  • Miller Nolan H.

    () (University of Illinois)

  • Rizzo John

    () (Stony Brook University)

  • Zeckhauser Richard

    () (Harvard University)

Abstract

Consumerism arises when patients acquire and use medical information from sources other than their physicians. This practice has been hailed as a means of improving quality. This need not be the result. Our theoretical model identifies a channel through which consumerism may reduce quality: consumerist patients place additional demands on their doctors’ time, thus imposing a negative externality on other patients. Relative to a world in which consumerism does not exist, consumerism may harm other consumerists, non-consumerists, or both. Data from a large national survey of physicians confirm the negative effects of consumerism: high levels of consumerist patients are associated with lower perceived quality among physicians.

Suggested Citation

  • Fang Hai & Miller Nolan H. & Rizzo John & Zeckhauser Richard, 2011. "Demanding Customers: Consumerist Patients and Quality of Care," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-51, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:11:y:2011:i:1:n:59
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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