The impact of medical errors on physician behavior: Evidence from malpractice litigation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

How do medical errors affect physician behavior? Despite the importance of this question empirical evidence about it remains limited. This paper studies the impact of obstetricians' medical errors that resulted in malpractice litigation on their subsequent choice of whether to perform a C-section, a common procedure that is thought to be sensitive to physician incentives. The main result is that C-section rates jumped discontinuously by 4% after a medical error, establishing an association between medical errors and treatment patterns. C-section rates continued to increase afterwards, bringing the cumulative increase 2.5 years after a medical error to 8%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-340
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Health Economics
Volume32
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Peer effects
  • Physician treatment styles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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