Discrimination in Health Care: A Field Experiment on the Impact of Patients’ Socio-Economic Status on Access to Care
31 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2017 Last revised: 18 Feb 2018
Date Written: January 29, 2018
We employ a large-scale field experiment to investigate the impact of patients’ socio-economic status on access to care. We request an appointment at more than 1,200 physicians in Austria varying the educational level of the patient. Our results show that overall patients with a university degree receive an appointment significantly more often than patients without a degree. Differentiating between practice assistants and physicians as responders to the request, we find that the overall results are driven by practice assistants. Physicians, in contrast, provide significantly shorter response times and earlier appointments for patients with than without university degree. Our results thus provide unambiguous evidence that discrimination by health providers contributes to the gradient in access to care.
Keywords: Access to health care, SES health gradient, discrimination, field experiment
JEL Classification: C93, I14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation