Department of Economics
64 Waterman Street
Providence, RI 02912
Institutional Affiliation: Brown University
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|November 2018||The Contribution of Patients and Providers to the Overuse of Prescription Drugs|
with Anja Sautmann, Simone Schaner: w25284
Overuse of medical care is often attributed to an informed expert problem, whereby doctors induce patients to purchase unnecessary treatments. Alternatively, patients may drive overuse of medications by exerting pressure on doctors to overprescribe, undermining the doctor's gatekeeping function for prescription medications. We develop a theoretical framework and designed a randomized trial to identify the importance of patients in driving overuse of antimalarials in community health clinics in Mali. Holding doctors' financial incentives constant, we vary patients' information about the availability of a discount for standard malaria treatment. We find evidence of patient-driven demand: directly informing patients about the price reduction, instead of allowing doctors to choose whether to s...