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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. Francesco D’Acunto & Andreas Fuster & Michael Weber, 2021. "Diverse Policy Committees Can Reach Underrepresented Groups," NBER Working Papers 29275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Halla, Martin & Kah, Christopher & Sausgruber, Rupert, 2021. "Testing for Ethnic Discrimination in Outpatient Health Care: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Germany," Department of Economics Working Paper Series 319, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    4. Daniel Auer & Johannes S. Kunz, 2021. "Communication Barriers and Infant Health: Intergenerational Effects of Randomly Allocating Refugees Across Language Regions," SoDa Laboratories Working Paper Series 2021-07, Monash University, SoDa Laboratories.
    5. Marcella Alsan & Amitabh Chandra & Kosali Simon, 2021. "The Great Unequalizer: Initial Health Effects of COVID-19 in the United States," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 25-46, Summer.
    6. Tom Chang & Mireille Jacobson & Manisha Shah & Rajiv Pramanik & Samir B. Shah, 2021. "Financial Incentives and Other Nudges Do Not Increase COVID-19 Vaccinations among the Vaccine Hesitant," NBER Working Papers 29403, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. 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.
    8. Alyson Ma & Alison Sanchez & Mindy Ma, 2022. "Racial disparities in health care utilization, the affordable care act and racial concordance preference," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 91-110, March.
    9. Moreira, Diana B. & Perez, Santiago, 2022. "Who Benefits from Meritocracy?," IZA Discussion Papers 15341, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. 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.
    11. Isaac Mbiti & Danila Serra, 2022. "Health workers’ behavior, patient reporting and reputational concerns: lab-in-the-field experimental evidence from Kenya," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 25(2), pages 514-556, April.
    12. Yana Gallen & Melanie Wasserman, 2022. "Does Information Affect Homophily?," Working Papers 2022-017, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    13. Ganglmair, Bernhard & Helmers, Christian & Love, Brian J., 2020. "The effect of patent litigation insurance: Theory and evidence from NPEs," ZEW Discussion Papers 20-037, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    14. Gallen, Yana & Wasserman, Melanie, 2021. "Informed Choices: Gender Gaps in Career Advice," CEPR Discussion Papers 15728, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. Sana Loue & Abdus Sattar, 2020. "Visioning Inclusion in an Academic Medical Center," Postmodern Openings, Editura Lumen, Department of Economics, vol. 11(2Sup1), pages 79-92, September.
    16. Marcella Alsan & Sarah Eichmeyer, 2021. "Experimental Evidence on the Effectiveness of Non-Experts for Improving Vaccine Demand," NBER Working Papers 28593, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Coffman, Lucas & Niehaus, Paul, 2020. "Pathways of persuasion," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 239-253.
    18. 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.
    19. Bohdana Kurylo, 2021. "The Impact of Same-Race Teachers on Student Behavioral Outcomes," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp695, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    20. Kets, Willemien & Sandroni, Alvaro, 2019. "A belief-based theory of homophily," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 410-435.
    21. 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).
    22. Andreas Ferrara & Price V. Fishback, 2020. "Discrimination, Migration, and Economic Outcomes: Evidence from World War I," NBER Working Papers 26936, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. 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.
    24. Marika Cabral & Marcus Dillender, 2021. "Gender Differences in Medical Evaluations: Evidence from Randomly Assigned Doctors," NBER Working Papers 29541, 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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