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Heterogeneous physicians, lawsuit costs, and the negligence rule

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  • Olbrich, Anja

Abstract

Real-world observations of negligent and defensive medicine challenge malpractice liability. Based on a principal-agent model with two types of physicians I show that lawsuit costs affect the patients' decision to sue and the physicians' level of care under the negligence rule, leading to a separated equilibrium in care. Given these conditions, punitive damages allow for a pooled equilibrium where all physicians exert first-best care. If courts cannot use punitive damages, a second-best solution arises with an optimal negligence standard that deviates from first-best care.

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  • Olbrich, Anja, 2008. "Heterogeneous physicians, lawsuit costs, and the negligence rule," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 78-88, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:irlaec:v:28:y:2008:i:1:p:78-88
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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Montanera, 2016. "The importance of negative defensive medicine in the effects of malpractice reform," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 17(3), pages 355-369, April.

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