Discussion Paper Series in Economics, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics (NHH)
Kurt R. Brekke
Socioeconomic Status and Physicians’ Treatment Decisions.
(), Tor Helge Holmås
(), Karin Monstad
() and Odd Rune Straume
Abstract: This paper aims at shedding light on the social gradient
by studying the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and
provision of health care. Using administrative data on services provided by
General Practitioners (GPs) in Norway over a …ve year period (2008- 12), we
analyse the quantity, composition and value of services provided by the GPs
according to patients’SES measured by education, income or ethnicity. Our
data allow us to control for a wide set of patient and GP characteristics.
To account for (unobserved) heterogeneity, we limit the sample to patients
with a speci…c disease, diabetes type 2, and estimate a model with GP …xed
e¤ects. Our results show that patients with low SES visit the GPs more
often, but the value of services provided per visit is lower. The
composition of services varies with SES, where patients with low education
and African or Asian ethnicity receive more medical tests but shorter
consultations, whereas patients with low income receive both shorter
consultations and fewer tests. Thus, our results show that GPs
differentiate services according to SES, but give no clear evidence for a
social gradient in health care provision.
Keywords: Socio-economic status; Primary care; General Practitioners.; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: I11; I14; I18; (follow links to similar papers)
27 pages, May 29, 2015
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