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Why are junior doctors reluctant to consult attending physicians?


  • Swank, Otto H.


A physician performs two tasks: making diagnoses and determining treatments. To reduce medical error, junior doctors are supposed to consult their supervisors when they face uncommon circumstances. However, recent research shows that junior doctors are reluctant to do so. This paper presents a model that explains (i) which junior doctors shy away from consulting; (ii) when junior doctors are reluctant; (iii) the importance of protocols in the medical sector; and (iv) when consulting is a sign of strength or a sign of weakness. Furthermore, I show that encouraging junior doctors to consult by investigating mishaps leads to another distortion: they will give too much weight to own assessments.

Suggested Citation

  • Swank, Otto H., 2010. "Why are junior doctors reluctant to consult attending physicians?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 317-324, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:29:y:2010:i:2:p:317-324

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Canice Prendergast, 2003. "The Limits of Bureaucratic Efficiency," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(5), pages 929-958, October.
    2. Bauke Visser & Otto H. Swank, 2007. "On Committees of Experts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 337-372.
    3. Shachar Kariv, 2005. "Overconfidence and Informational Cascades," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000406, UCLA Department of Economics.
    4. Ashford, Susan J. & Northcraft, Gregory B., 1992. "Conveying more (or less) than we realize: The role of impression-management in feedback-seeking," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 310-334, December.
    5. Scharfstein, David S & Stein, Jeremy C, 1990. "Herd Behavior and Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 465-479, June.
    6. Antonio E. Bernardo & Ivo Welch, 2001. "On the Evolution of Overconfidence and Entrepreneurs," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(3), pages 301-330, September.
    7. Ottaviani, Marco & Sorensen, Peter, 2001. "Information aggregation in debate: who should speak first?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 393-421, September.
    8. Luis Garicano, 2000. "Hierarchies and the Organization of Knowledge in Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 874-904, October.
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    1. repec:kap:jbuset:v:142:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10551-016-3041-x is not listed on IDEAS


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