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

  • Shurtz, Ity

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%.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 32 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 331-340

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:32:y:2013:i:2:p:331-340
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  1. Andrew Epstein & Sean Nicholson, 2005. "The Formation And Evolution Of Physician Treatment Styles: An Application To Cesarean Sections," Working Papers id:176, eSocialSciences.
  2. 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.
  3. 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, 01.
  4. repec:mpr:mprres:6496 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. 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.
  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 & 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.
  8. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:123:y:2008:i:2:p:795-830 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Janet Currie & W. Bentley MacLeod, 2006. "First Do No Harm?: Tort Reform and Birth Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 12478, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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