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The Efficiency of Slacking off: Evidence From the Emergency Department

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  • David C. Chan

Abstract

Work schedules play an important role in utilizing labor in organizations. In this study of emergency department physicians in shift work, schedules induce two distortions: First, physicians “slack off†by accepting fewer patients near end of shift (EOS). Second, physicians distort patient care, incurring higher costs as they spend less time on patients assigned near EOS. Examining how these effects change with shift overlap reveals a tradeoff between the two. Within an hour after the normal time of work completion, physicians are willing to spend hospital resources more than six times their market wage to preserve their leisure. Accounting for overall costs, I find that physicians slack off at approximately second†best optimal levels.

Suggested Citation

  • David C. Chan, 2018. "The Efficiency of Slacking off: Evidence From the Emergency Department," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 86(3), pages 997-1030, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:emetrp:v:86:y:2018:i:3:p:997-1030
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.3982/ECTA13565
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Sam Watson’s journal round-up for 25th June 2018
      by Sam Watson in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2018-06-25 11:00:28

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