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Specialization and matching in professional services firms

Andrew J. Epstein, Jonathan Ketcham and Sean Nicholson

RAND Journal of Economics, 2010, vol. 41, issue 4, 811-834

Abstract: Economic theory indicates that firms can match workers to jobs and promote productivity‐enhancing specialization better than markets, yet few data exist. We empirically test whether firms enhance matching and specialization in the context of obstetrics. We then examine whether consumers benefit from this. We find that high‐risk patients in group practices match with specialists more than patients of solo physicians, and this improves patients’ health outcomes. Matching based on a patient’s clinical need for a cesarean section delivery and a physician’s cesarean section skill also occurs, but less extensively. These results support the hypothesis that firms facilitate matching and specialization.

Date: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:bla:randje:v:41:y:2010:i:4:p:811-834