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22.12.2016 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 9/2017

The European Journal of Health Economics 9/2017

Gender-specific practice styles and ambulatory health care expenditures

The European Journal of Health Economics > Ausgabe 9/2017
Boris Kaiser


This paper explores the role of physician gender in the expenditures for ambulatory care as a potential source of practice style variation. We exploit a large doctor–patient panel dataset based on insurance-claims data from Switzerland to estimate the effect of physician gender on health care expenditures. We find considerable heterogeneity across specialties. In primary care, female doctors are found to produce similar overall expenditures per visit as their male colleagues, but significantly smaller prescribing costs and significantly higher laboratory costs. In secondary-care specialties, we find that women generate lower overall expenditures, which is mainly driven by consultation costs. These findings provide evidence for the existence of sex-specific practice styles that translate into different overall expenditures as well as different compositions of these expenditures.

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