Heuristic thinking in the workplace: Evidence from primary care

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We study whether primary care physicians (PCPs) exercise left digit bias with respect to patients' age. Relying on a comprehensive administrative visit level data from a large Israeli HMO, we measure the intensity of patients' medical examination in visits that take place around a decadal birthday—a birthday that ends with zero—within a regression discontinuity framework. We find that in standard settings with clear patient information there is no evidence that PCPs exhibit left digit bias. However, when PCPs meet unfamiliar patients seeking immediate care, they are more likely to use basic diagnostic tests just above the decadal birthday threshold, indicating that under these circumstances, PCPs do use left digit bias.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1713-1729
Number of pages17
JournalHealth Economics (United Kingdom)
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2022


  • attention
  • heuristic thinking
  • left digit bias
  • physician behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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