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American Economic Review: Vol. 103 No. 1 (February 2013)

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The Impact of Medical Liability Standards on Regional Variations in Physician Behavior: Evidence from the Adoption of National-Standard Rules

Article Citation

Frakes, Michael. 2013. "The Impact of Medical Liability Standards on Regional Variations in Physician Behavior: Evidence from the Adoption of National-Standard Rules." American Economic Review, 103(1): 257-76.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.1.257

Abstract

I explore the association between regional variations in physician behavior and the geographical scope of malpractice standards of care. I estimate a 30-50 percent reduction in the gap between state and national utilization rates of various treatments and diagnostic procedures following the adoption of a rule requiring physicians to follow national, as opposed to local, standards. These findings suggest that standardization in malpractice law may lead to greater standardization in practices and, more generally, that physicians may indeed adhere to specific liability standards. In connection with the estimated convergence in practices, I observe no associated changes in patient health. (JEL I11, I18, J44, K13)

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Authors

Frakes, Michael (Cornell U)

JEL Classifications

I11: Analysis of Health Care Markets
I18: Health: Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
J44: Professional Labor Markets; Occupational Licensing
K13: Tort Law and Product Liability


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