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Demanding Customers: Consumerist Patients and Quality of Care

  • Fang, Hai

    (U Miami)

  • Miller, Nolan

    (Harvard U)

  • Rizzo, John A.

    (Stony Brook U)

  • Zeckhauser, Richard

    (Harvard U)

Consumerism arises when patients acquire and use medical information from sources apart from their physicians, such as the Internet and direct-to-patient advertising. Consumerism has been hailed as a means of improving quality. This need not be the result. Consumerist patients place additional demands on their doctors' time, thus imposing a negative externality on other patients. Our theoretical model has the physician treat both consumerist and ordinary patient under a binding time budget. Relative to a world in which consumerism does not exist, consumerism is never Pareto improving, and in some cases harms both consumerist and ordinary patients. Data from a large national survey of physicians shows that high levels of consumerism are associated with lower perceived quality. Three different measures of quality were employed. The analysis uses instrumental variables to control for the endogeneity of consumerism. A control function approach is employed, since our dependent variable is ordered and categorical, not continuous.

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Paper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp08-042.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp08-042
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  1. Terza, Joseph V. & Basu, Anirban & Rathouz, Paul J., 2008. "Two-stage residual inclusion estimation: Addressing endogeneity in health econometric modeling," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 531-543, May.
  2. Smith, Richard J & Blundell, Richard W, 1986. "An Exogeneity Test for a Simultaneous Equation Tobit Model with an Application to Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 679-85, May.
  3. Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1251-71, November.
  4. H. Brown & José Pagán, 2006. "Managed care and the scale efficiency of US hospitals," International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 278-289, December.
  5. Anderson, T.W., 2005. "Origins of the limited information maximum likelihood and two-stage least squares estimators," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 127(1), pages 1-16, July.
  6. Rivers, Douglas & Vuong, Quang H., 1988. "Limited information estimators and exogeneity tests for simultaneous probit models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 347-366, November.
  7. John A. Rizzo, 2005. "Are HMOs bad for health maintenance?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(11), pages 1117-1131.
  8. Hausman, Jerry A., 1983. "Specification and estimation of simultaneous equation models," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 391-448 Elsevier.
  9. Miller, Nolan H., 2006. "Insurer-provider integration, credible commitment, and managed-care backlash," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 861-876, September.
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