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Medical Malpractice Reform and Physicians in High-Risk Specialties

Listed author(s):
  • Jonathan Klick
  • Thomas Stratmann

If medical malpractice reform affects the supply of physicians, the effects will be concentrated in specialties facing high liability exposure. Many doctors are likely to be indifferent regarding reform, because their likelihood of being sued is low. This difference can be exploited to isolate the causal effect of medical malpractice reform on the supply of doctors in high-risk specialties, by using doctors in low-risk specialties as a contemporaneous within-state control group. Using this triple-differences design to control for unobserved effects that correlate with the passage of medical malpractice reform, we show that only caps on noneconomic damages have a statistically significant effect on the per capita number of doctors and that this effect is concentrated among only those specialties that face the highest litigation exposure. (c) 2007 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/520416
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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Legal Studies.

Volume (Year): 36 (2007)
Issue (Month): S2 (06)
Pages: 121-142

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:36:y:2007:i:s2:p:s121-s142
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLS/

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  1. Daniel P. Kessler & Mark McClellan, 1996. "Do Doctors Practice Defensive Medicine?," NBER Working Papers 5466, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Dubay, Lisa & Kaestner, Robert & Waidmann, Timothy, 2001. "Medical malpractice liability and its effect on prenatal care utilization and infant health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 591-611, July.
  3. Rizzo, John A. & Blumenthal, David, 1994. "Physician labor supply: Do income effects matter?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 433-453.
  4. Daniel Kessler & Mark McClellan, 1996. "Do Doctors Practice Defensive Medicine?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 353-390.
  5. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
  6. Paul H. Rubin & Joanna M. Shepherd, 2007. "Tort Reform and Accidental Deaths," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50, pages 221-238.
  7. Jonathan Gruber & Phillip Levine & Douglas Staiger, 1999. "Abortion Legalization and Child Living Circumstances: Who is the "Marginal Child"?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 263-291.
  8. Eric Helland & Jonathan Klick & Alexander Tabarrok, 2005. "Data Watch: Tort-uring the Data," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 207-220, Spring.
  9. David A. Matsa, 2007. "Does Malpractice Liability Keep the Doctor Away? Evidence from Tort Reform Damage Caps," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(S2), pages 143-182, 06.
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