In: Handbook of Health Economics
This chapter reviews the theory and empirical literature on physician market power, behavior, and motives, referred to collectively as the issue of "physician agency." The chapter is organized around an increasingly complex view of the demand conditions facing a physician, beginning with the most simple conception associated with demand and supply, and building through monopolistic competition models with complete information, and finally models with asymmetric information. Institutional features such as insurance, price regulation, managed care networks and noncontractible elements of quality of care are incorporated in turn. The review reveals three mechanisms physicians may use to influence quantity of care provided to patients: quantity setting of a nonretradable service, influencing demand by setting the level of a noncontractible input ("quality"), and, in an asymmetric-information context, taking an action to influence patient preferences. The third mechanism is known as "physician-induced demand." The empirical literature on this topic is reviewed. Theories based on alternatives to profit-maximization as objectives of physicians are also reviewed, including ethics and concern for patients, and the "target-income" hypothesis. The target-income hypothesis can be rejected, although there is empirical support for non-profit maximizing behavior.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
|This chapter was published in: ||This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of Health Economics with number
1-09.||Handle:|| RePEc:eee:heachp:1-09||Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/bookseriesdescription.cws_home/BS_HE/description|
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:heachp:1-09. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.