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Professional Partnerships and Matching in Obstetrics

Andrew Epstein, Jonathan Ketcham and Sean Nicholson

No 14070, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: Theory indicates that internally-differentiated professional partnerships can promote matching between heterogeneous consumers and professionals, particularly when consumers have imperfect information or markets have barriers to referrals between firms. We test this in obstetrics markets, relying on random assignment of patients to physicians to generate unbiased measures of a physician's treatment style and skill, and on simulations to measure a physician's specialization. Consumers match to professionals along all three dimensions -- specialization, style and skill -- based on consumers' observed characteristics and unobserved preferences. We conclude that internally-differentiated partnerships promote matching in ways that improve consumers' welfare and health.

JEL-codes: D83 I12 J44 L15 L25 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2008-06
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