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Tort reform and caesarean deliveries


  • Alfredo G. Esposto


This study examines the effects of state-level, tort law reforms on the rate of caesarean deliveries in the United States. The central thesis focuses on the rate of caesarean deliveries as an indicator of defensive medicine and the role, if any, of legal reform. Specifically, if physicians reduce their level of defensive medicine in the wake of liability reforms, this will show up as a reduction in the share of births in which a caesarean section was used. I discover after analysing panel data reflecting the rate of caesarean deliveries by states and for the years 1987, 1990 and 1993 that differences in rate of caesarean deliveries are partially the result of state-level liability reforms. The results provide further evidence of the existence of defensive medicine and of the impact of the legal environment on physician's choice of medical procedures.

Suggested Citation

  • Alfredo G. Esposto, 2012. "Tort reform and caesarean deliveries," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(12), pages 1171-1174, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:apeclt:v:19:y:2012:i:12:p:1171-1174 DOI: 10.1080/13504851.2011.617683

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    1. Irineu De Carvalho Filho & Marcos Chamon, 2008. "A Micro-Empirical Foundation for the Political Economy of Exchange Rate Populism," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 55(3), pages 481-510, July.
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