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Testing for the Role of Prejudice in Emergency Departments Using Bounceback Rates

  • Shamena Anwar

    ()

    (Heinz School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University)

  • Hanming Fang

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

We propose and empirically implement a test for the presence of racial prejudice among emergency department (ED) physicians based on the bounceback rates of the patients who were discharged after receiving diagnostic tests during their initial ED visits. A bounceback is defined as a return to the ED within 72 hours of being initially discharged. Based on a plausible model of physician behavior, we show that differential bounceback rates across patients of different racial groups who are discharged after receiving diagnostic tests from their ED visits are informative of the racial prejudice of the physicians. Applying the test to administrative data of ED visits from California and New Jersey, we do not find evidence of prejudice against black and Hispanic patients. Our finding suggests that, at least in the emergency department setting, taste based discrimination does not play an important role in the racial disparities in health care.

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File URL: http://economics.sas.upenn.edu/system/files/working-papers/11-007.pdf
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Paper provided by Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania in its series PIER Working Paper Archive with number 11-007.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 09 Mar 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:11-007
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  1. Amitabh Chandra & Douglas O. Staiger, 2010. "Identifying Provider Prejudice in Healthcare," NBER Working Papers 16382, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. John Knowles & Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, . "Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence," Penn CARESS Working Papers 5940d5c4875c571776fb29700, Penn Economics Department.
  3. Kate L. Antonovics & Brian G. Knight, 2004. "A New Look at Racial Profiling: Evidence from the Boston Police Department," NBER Working Papers 10634, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Joseph Price & Justin Wolfers, 2010. "Racial Discrimination Among NBA Referees," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1859-1887, November.
  5. Stephen L. Ross & John Yinger, 2002. "The Color of Credit: Mortgage Discrimination, Research Methodology, and Fair-Lending Enforcement," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262182289, June.
  6. Shamena Anwar & Hanming Fang, 2006. "An Alternative Test of Racial Prejudice in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 127-151, March.
  7. Mechoulan, St├ęphane & Sahuguet, Nicolas, 2011. "Assessing Racial Discrimination in Parole Release," CEPR Discussion Papers 8506, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Balsa, Ana I. & McGuire, Thomas G., 2001. "Statistical discrimination in health care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 881-907, November.
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