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The impact of medical errors on physician behavior: Evidence from malpractice litigation

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Listed:
  • Shurtz, Ity

Abstract

How do medical errors affect physician behavior? Despite the importance of this question empirical evidence about it remains limited. This paper studies the impact of obstetricians’ medical errors that resulted in malpractice litigation on their subsequent choice of whether to perform a C-section, a common procedure that is thought to be sensitive to physician incentives. The main result is that C-section rates jumped discontinuously by 4% after a medical error, establishing an association between medical errors and treatment patterns. C-section rates continued to increase afterwards, bringing the cumulative increase 2.5 years after a medical error to 8%.

Suggested Citation

  • Shurtz, Ity, 2013. "The impact of medical errors on physician behavior: Evidence from malpractice litigation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 331-340.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:32:y:2013:i:2:p:331-340
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2012.11.011
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:mpr:mprres:6496 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Epstein, Andrew J. & Nicholson, Sean, 2009. "The formation and evolution of physician treatment styles: An application to cesarean sections," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 1126-1140, December.
    3. Jessica Wolpaw Reyes, 2010. "The Effect of Malpractice Liability on the Specialty of Obstetrics and Gynecology," NBER Working Papers 15841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Janet Currie & W. Bentley MacLeod, 2008. "First Do No Harm? Tort Reform and Birth Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 795-830.
    5. David Dranove & Yasutora Watanabe, 2009. "Influence and Deterrence: How Obstetricians Respond to Litigation against Themselves and Their Colleagues," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 69-94.
    6. Gilbert W. Gimm, 2010. "The Impact of Malpractice Liability Claims on Obstetrical Practice Patterns," Mathematica Policy Research Reports de1d340a943d4c3082938643c, Mathematica Policy Research.
    7. David Dranove & Subramaniam Ramanarayanan & Yasutora Watanabe, 2012. "Delivering Bad News: Market Responses to Negligence," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(1), pages 1-25.
    8. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2006. "Large Sample Properties of Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(1), pages 235-267, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Panthöfer, S., 2016. "Do Doctors Prescribe Antibiotics Out of Fear of Malpractice?," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 16/31, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    2. Paola Bertoli & Veronica Grembi, 2017. "Medical Malpractice: How Legal Liability Affects Medical Decisions," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp600, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    3. Panthöfer, Sebastian, 2016. "Tort Reform and the Length of Physician Office Visits," UC3M Working papers. Economics 23861, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
    4. Jensen, Vibeke Myrup & Wüst, Miriam, 2015. "Can Caesarean section improve child and maternal health? The case of breech babies," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 289-302.
    5. Paola Bertoli & Veronica Grembi, 2017. "Exploring the Nexus between Certainty in Injury Compensation and Treatment Selection," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp603, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    6. Buzzacchi, Luigi & Scellato, Giuseppe & Ughetto, Elisa, 2016. "Frequency of medical malpractice claims: The effects of volumes and specialties," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 170(C), pages 152-160.
    7. repec:kap:ijhcfe:v:17:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s10754-016-9202-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Sofia Amaral-Garcia & Paola Bertoli & Veronica Grembi, 2015. "Does Experience Rating Improve Obstetric Practices? Evidence From Geographical Discontinuities in Italy," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp540, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    9. repec:eee:hepoli:v:121:y:2017:i:9:p:986-993 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Amaral-Garcia, S. & Bertoli, P. & Grembi, V., 2014. "Does Experience Rating Improve Obstetric Practices? Evidence From Geographical Discontinuities," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 14/23, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Physician treatment styles; Peer effects;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • K13 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Tort Law and Product Liability; Forensic Economics
    • K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process

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