Do Physicians Respond to Liability Standards?
Duke Law School
Harvard University, Law School, Students
Seth A. Seabury
University of Southern California - Keck School of Medicine
August 2, 2014
Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (Forthcoming)
Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 14-45
In this paper, we explore the sensitivity in the clinical decisions of physicians to the standards of care expected of them under the law, drawing on the abandonment by states over time of rules holding physicians to standards determined by local customs and the contemporaneous adoption of national-standard rules. Using data on broad rates of surgical interventions at the county-by-year level from the Area Resource File, we find that local surgery rates converge towards national surgery rates upon the adoption of national-standard rules. Moreover, we find that these effects are more pronounced among rural counties.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 18
JEL Classification: I10, K13, K41
Date posted: August 4, 2014 ; Last revised: September 11, 2014