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Does Diversity Matter for Health? Experimental Evidence from Oakland


  • Marcella Alsan
  • Owen Garrick
  • Grant C. Graziani


We study the effect of physician workforce diversity on the demand for preventive care among African-American men. In an experiment in Oakland, California, we randomize black men to black or non-black male medical doctors. We use a two-stage design, measuring decisions before (pre-consultation) and after (post-consultation) meeting their assigned doctor. Subjects select a similar number of preventives in the preconsultation stage, but are much more likely to select every preventive service, particularly invasive services, once meeting with a racially concordant doctor. Our findings suggest black doctors could reduce the black-white male gap in cardiovascular mortality by 19%.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcella Alsan & Owen Garrick & Grant C. Graziani, 2018. "Does Diversity Matter for Health? Experimental Evidence from Oakland," NBER Working Papers 24787, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24787
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    Cited by:

    1. Chris Birdsall & Seth Gershenson & Raymond Zuniga, 2020. "The Effects of Demographic Mismatch in an Elite Professional School Setting," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 15(3), pages 457-486, Summer.
    2. Emilia Simeonova & Niels Skipper & Peter R. Thingholm, 2020. "Physician Health Management Skills and Patient Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 26735, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Amitabh Chandra & Courtney Coile & Corina Mommaerts, 2020. "What Can Economics Say About Alzheimer's Disease?," NBER Working Papers 27760, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Marcella Alsan & Sarah Eichmeyer, 2021. "Persuasion in Medicine: Messaging to Increase Vaccine Demand," NBER Working Papers 28593, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Coffman, Lucas & Niehaus, Paul, 2020. "Pathways of persuasion," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 239-253.
    6. Amitabh Chandra & Pragya Kakani & Adam Sacarny, 2020. "Hospital Allocation and Racial Disparities in Health Care," NBER Working Papers 28018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Kets, Willemien & Sandroni, Alvaro, 2019. "A belief-based theory of homophily," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 410-435.
    8. Anderson, D. Mark & Charles, Kerwin Kofi & Rees, Daniel I., 2020. "The Federal Effort to Desegregate Southern Hospitals and the Black-White Infant Mortality Gap," IZA Discussion Papers 13920, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Yiqun Chen & Petra Persson & Maria Polyakova, 2019. "The Roots of Health Inequality and The Value of Intra-Family Expertise," NBER Working Papers 25618, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality

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