Birds of a Feather Flock Together: A Study of Doctor-Patient Matching
HERO WP 2009/3: Forfatter: Godager, G., Institute of Health Management and Health Economics, Health Economics Research Programme, University of Oslo (PDF)
In this paper we study individuals' choice of general practitioners (GPs) utilizing revealed preferences data from the introduction of a regular general practitioner scheme in Norway. Having information on relevant travel distances, we compute decision makers' travel costs associated with different modes of travel. Choice probabilities are estimated by means of nested logit regression on a representative sample of Oslo inhabitants.
The results support the general hypothesis that patients prefer doctors who resemble themselves on observable characteristics: Individuals prefer GPs having the same gender and similar age. Specialist status of GPs was found to have a smaller effect on choice probabilities than other attributes such as matching gender. When travel costs are calculated by means of taxi prices, the estimated willingness to pay for specialist status of a GP amounts to € 0.89 per consultation, whereas the estimated willingness to pay for having a GP with the same gender amounts to respectively € 1.71 and € 3.55 for female and male decision makers, respectively.