Physician Incentives in Health Maintenance Organizations

Posted: 8 Jul 2004

See all articles by Martin Gaynor

Martin Gaynor

Carnegie Mellon University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Leverhulme Centre for Market and Public Organisation

James B. Rebitzer

Boston University School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Bard College - The Levy Economics Institute

Lowell J. Taylor

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management

Abstract

Managed care organizations rely on incentives that encourage physicians to limit medical expenditures, but little is known about how physicians respond to these incentives. We address this issue by analyzing the physician incentive contracts in use at a health maintenance organization. By combining knowledge of the incentive contracts with internal company records, we examine how medical expenditures vary with the intensity of the incentive to cut costs. Our investigation leads us to a novel explanation for high-powered group incentives: such incentives can improve efficiency in the allocation of resources when the allocation process is based on the professional judgment of multiple agents. Our empirical work indicates that medical expenditures at the HMO are 5 percent lower than they would have been in the absence of incentives.

Suggested Citation

Gaynor, Martin and Rebitzer, James B. and Taylor, Lowell J., Physician Incentives in Health Maintenance Organizations. Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 112, pp. 915-931, August 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=562421

Martin Gaynor

Carnegie Mellon University ( email )

H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy
and Management
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
412-268-7933 (Phone)
412-268-5338 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Leverhulme Centre for Market and Public Organisation

12 Priory Road
Bristol BS8 1TN
United Kingdom

James B. Rebitzer

Boston University School of Management ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA MA 02215
United States
617 353 4605 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Bard College - The Levy Economics Institute

Blithewood
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504
United States

Lowell J. Taylor (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
412-268-3278 (Phone)
412-268-7036 (Fax)

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
754
PlumX Metrics