Provider Supply, Utilization, and Infant Health: Evidence from a Physician Distribution Policy
- American Economic Journal: Economic Policy (Forthcoming)
We analyze a policy that substantially expanded the supply of primary care physicians in Brazil. The program increased doctor visits across all age groups and led to greater utilization of doctors for prenatal care. However, these physicians replaced nurse visits for prenatal care without increasing the overall number of visits women receive. We find no evidence of gains in widely-used metrics of infant health, including birth weight, gestation, and infant mortality. Together, these findings provide suggestive evidence that physicians and nurses may be good substitutes in the production function of infant health.
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