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TitleDo treatment decisions depend on physicians’ financial incentives?
Author(s)Brekke, Kurt R.
Holmås, Tor Helge
Monstad, Karin
Straume, Odd Rune
KeywordsGeneral practitioners
Issue dateJul-2015
PublisherUniversidade do Minho. Núcleo de Investigação em Políticas Económicas (NIPE)
Abstract(s)We study whether and how physicians respond to nancial incentives, making use of detailed register data on the health-care services provided to patients by general practitioners (GPs) in Norway over a six-year period (2006-11). To identify GPs' treatment responses, we exploit that specialisation in general medicine entitles the GPs to a higher consultation fee, implying a change in total and relative fee payments. To control for demand and supply factors related to becoming a specialist, we estimate a GP fixed effect model focusing on a narrow time window around the date of specialist certi cation. Our results show a sharp response by the GPs immediately after obtaining specialist certi fication and thus a higher consultation fee: the number of visits increase, while the treatment intensity (prolonged consultations, lab tests, medical procedures) decline. These fi ndings are consistent with a theory model where (partly) profi t-motivated GPs face excess demand and income effects are sufficiently small. Finally, we find no evidence for adverse health effects (measured by emergency care centre visits) on patients due to the change in GPs' treatment behaviour after becoming a specialist.
TypeWorking paper
Publisher version
AccessOpen access
Appears in Collections:NIPE - Documentos de Trabalho

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