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Do Physicians' Financial Incentives Affect Medical Treatment and Patient Health?

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Listed:
  • Jeffrey Clemens

    (Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research)

  • Joshua D. Gottlieb

    (Department of Economics, Harvard University)

Abstract

We investigate whether physicians’ financial incentives influence health care supply, technology diffusion, and resulting patient outcomes. In 1997, Medicare consolidated the geographic regions across which is adjusts physician payments, generating area-specific price shocks. Areas with higher payment shocks experience significant increases in health care supply. On average, a 2 percent increase in payment rates leads to a 5 percent increase in care provision. Elective procedures such as cataract surgery respond twice as strongly as less discretionary services. Higher reimbursements increase the pace of technology diffusion, as non-radiologists acquire MRI scanners when prices increase. Incremental care has no impacts on patient health.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey Clemens & Joshua D. Gottlieb, 2012. "Do Physicians' Financial Incentives Affect Medical Treatment and Patient Health?," Discussion Papers 11-017, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:11-017
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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