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How Payment Systems Affect Physicians' Provision Behaviour – An Experimental Investigation

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  • Hennig-Schmidt, Heike
  • Selten, Reinhard
  • Wiesen, Daniel

Abstract

A central concern in health economics is to understand the influence of commonly used physician payment systems. We introduce a controlled laboratory experiment to analyze the influence of fee-for-service (FFS) and capitation (CAP) payments on physicians' behaviour. Medical students decide as experimental physicians on the quantity of medical services. Real patients gain a monetary benefit from their choices. Our main findings are that patients are overserved in FFS and underserved in CAP. Financial incentives are not the only motivation for physicians' quantity decisions, though. The patient benefit is of considerable importance as well. Patients are affected differently by the two payment systems. Those patients in need of a low level of medical services are better off under CAP, whereas patients with a high need of medical services gain more health benefit when physicians are paid by FFS.

Suggested Citation

  • Hennig-Schmidt, Heike & Selten, Reinhard & Wiesen, Daniel, 2009. "How Payment Systems Affect Physicians' Provision Behaviour – An Experimental Investigation," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers 29/2009, University of Bonn, Bonn Graduate School of Economics (BGSE).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:bonedp:292009
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Physician payment system; laboratory experiment; incentives; fee-for-service; capitation;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets

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