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Profit or patients’ health benefit? Exploring the heterogeneity in physician altruism

Geir Godager () and Daniel Wiesen ()

Journal of Health Economics, 2013, vol. 32, issue 6, 1105-1116

Abstract: This paper investigates physician altruism toward patients’ health benefit using behavioral data from Hennig-Schmidt et al.'s (2011) laboratory experiment. In the experiment, medical students in the role of physicians decide on the provision of medical services. The experimental setup allows us to identify the influence of profits and patients’ health benefit on the choice of medical treatment. We estimate physician altruism, the weight individuals attach to patients’ health benefit, by fitting mixed logit and multinomial logit regression models to the experimental data. Estimation results provide evidence for physician altruism. We find, however, substantial variation in the degree of physician altruism. We also discuss some implications of our results for the design of physician payment schemes in the light of the theoretical literature.

Keywords: Payment incentives; Physician behavior; Physician altruism; Health care quantity; Mixed logit regression (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 I11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:32:y:2013:i:6:p:1105-1116

DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2013.08.008

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Journal of Health Economics is currently edited by J. P. Newhouse, A. J. Culyer, R. Frank, K. Claxton and T. McGuire

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