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Profit or Patients' Health Benefit? Exploring the Heterogeneity in Physician Altruism

  • Godager, Geir


    (Department of Health Management and Health Economics)

  • Wiesen, Daniel


    (BonnEconLab, Laboratory for Experimental Economics, University of Bonn and Chair of Quantitative)

This paper investigates physician altruism toward patients’ health benefit using behavioral data from the fully incentivized laboratory experiment of Hennig-Schmidt et al. (2011). This setup identifies both physicians’ profits and patients’ health benefit resulting from medical treatment decisions. We estimate a random utility model applying multinomial logit regression, finding that physicians attach a positive weight on patients’ health benefit. Furthermore, physicians vary substantially in their degree of altruism. Finally, we provide some implications for the design of physician payment schemes.

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Paper provided by Oslo University, Health Economics Research Programme in its series HERO On line Working Paper Series with number 2011:7.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: 28 Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:oslohe:2011_007
Contact details of provider: Postal: HERO / Institute of Health Management and Health Economics P.O. Box 1089 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway
Phone: 2307 5309
Fax: 2307 5310
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  7. Hennig-Schmidt, Heike & Selten, Reinhard & Wiesen, Daniel, 2011. "How payment systems affect physicians' provision behaviour--An experimental investigation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 637-646, July.
  8. Kenneth Train, 2003. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number emetr2.
  9. Billy Jack, 2001. "Purchasing Health Care Services from Providers with Unknown Altruism," Working Papers gueconwpa~03-03-13, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
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