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Other-regarding behavior and motivation in health care provision: An experiment with medical and non-medical students

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  • Hennig-Schmidt, Heike
  • Wiesen, Daniel

Abstract

Other-regarding motivation is a fundamental determinant of public service provision. In health care, one example is physicians who act benevolently towards their patients when providing medical services. Such patient-regarding motivation seems closely associated with a personal sacrifice that health service providers are willing to make. Surprisingly, evidence on physicians' motivation is rare. This paper contributes to the literature by investigating prospective physicians', in particular, medical students', motivations and behavior. We measure the willingness to sacrifice own profit in order to increase the patients' health benefit. We conduct the same analysis for non-medical students. In a controlled incentivized laboratory experiment, participants decide, in the role of physicians, on the provision of medical services under fee-for-service or capitation schemes. Overall, 42 medical students and 44 non-medical students participated in five experimental sessions conducted between 2006 and 2008. We find substantial differences under both payment systems: compared to medical students, students of non-medical majors are less patient-regarding, less willing to sacrifice their own profit, and they state less motivation to improve patients' health. This results in significantly lower patient health benefits. Some implications for health care policies in light of physician shortage and for physician payment systems are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Hennig-Schmidt, Heike & Wiesen, Daniel, 2014. "Other-regarding behavior and motivation in health care provision: An experiment with medical and non-medical students," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 156-165.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:108:y:2014:i:c:p:156-165
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.03.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Huck, Steffen & Lünser, Gabriele & Spitzer, Florian & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2016. "Medical insurance and free choice of physician shape patient overtreatment: A laboratory experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PB), pages 78-105.
    2. Mimra, Wanda & Rasch, Alexander & Waibel, Christian, 2016. "Second opinions in markets for expert services: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PB), pages 106-125.
    3. Brosig-Koch, Jeannette & Hennig-Schmidt, Heike & Kairies-Schwarz, Nadja & Wiesen, Daniel, 2016. "Using artefactual field and lab experiments to investigate how fee-for-service and capitation affect medical service provision," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PB), pages 17-23.
    4. Hennig-Schmidt, Heike & Jürges, Hendrik & Wiesen, Daniel, 2018. "Dishonesty in healthcare practice: A behavioral experiment on upcoding in neonatology," HERO On line Working Paper Series 2018:3, Oslo University, Health Economics Research Programme.
    5. Lagarde, Mylène & Blaauw, Duane, 2017. "Physicians’ responses to financial and social incentives: A medically framed real effort experiment," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 147-159.
    6. Li, JingJing & Godager, Geir & Wang, Jian, 2016. "Does physician gender influence the provision of medical care? An experimental study," HERO On line Working Paper Series 2016:6, Oslo University, Health Economics Research Programme.
    7. repec:zbw:rwirep:0543 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Castro, M.F.; & Ferrara, P.; & Guccio, C.; & Lisi, D.;, 2018. "Medical Malpractice Liability and Physicians’ Behavior:Experimental Evidence," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 18/11, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    9. Jeannette Brosig-Koch & Heike Hennig-Schmidt & Nadja Kairies-Schwarz & Daniel Wiesen, 2015. "The Effects of Introducing Mixed Payment Systems for Physicians – Experimental Evidence," Ruhr Economic Papers 0543, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.

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