Medical Malpractice Liability and Physiciansâ€™ Behavior:Experimental Evidence
Calogero Guccio () and
Domenico Lisi ()
Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers from HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York
Medical liability systems have been accused of increasing health expenditure insofar as they induce the practice of defensive medicine. Despite the large evidence on the role of medical malpractice liability, the identification of its causal effect on physiciansâ€™ treatment decisions is a difficult task. In this paper we study for the first time in a controlled laboratory setting the effect of introducing the risk of being sued for medical malpractice on the provision of physiciansâ€™ medical services. In our experimental sessions both medical and non-medical students choose how many medical services to provide for heterogeneous patients. We implement exogenous variations in the presence of medical malpractice liability and expected probability of being sued, and thus we exploit the within-subject variation in the provision of medical services to infer the causal effect of malpractice liability. Furthermore, we analyze the impact of malpractice liability under different physiciansâ€™ payment methods, which allows us to discuss the interplay between medical liability and payment systems. Our behavioral data show that introducing malpractice liability pressure does lead physicians to choose a higher amount of medical services, regardless of the physiciansâ€™ payment system. However, we also find that the payment system in which malpractice liability is implemented makes the difference under the societal perspective, with relevant implications for health policy.
Keywords: medical liability; defensive medicine; payment systems; physiciansâ€™behavior; laboratory experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I12 K13 C91 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp, nep-hea and nep-law
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:yor:hectdg:18/11
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