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

See all articles by Silvia Angerer

Silvia Angerer

UMIT - University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology

Christian Waibel

ETH Zürich - CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research at ETH Zurich

Harald Stummer

UMIT - University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology

Date Written: January 29, 2018

Abstract

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

Angerer, Silvia and Waibel, Christian and Stummer, Harald, Discrimination in Health Care: A Field Experiment on the Impact of Patients’ Socio-Economic Status on Access to Care (January 29, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3036000 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3036000

Silvia Angerer (Contact Author)

UMIT - University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology ( email )

Eduard-Wallnöfer-Zentrum 1
Hall, Tirol 6060
Austria

Christian Waibel

ETH Zürich - CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research at ETH Zurich ( email )

Zürichbergstrasse 18
Zurich, 8092
Switzerland

Harald Stummer

UMIT - University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology ( email )

Eduard-Wallnöfer-Zentrum 1
Hall, Tirol 6060
Austria

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