NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Wei Zhang

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Working Papers

December 2010Patient Knowledge and Antibiotic Abuse: Evidence from an Audit Study in China
with Janet Currie, Wanchuan Lin: w16602
We ask how patient knowledge of appropriate antibiotic usage affects both physicians prescribing behavior and the physician-patient relationship. We conduct an audit study in which a pair of simulated patients with identical flu-like complaints visits the same physician. Simulated patient A is instructed to ask a question that showcases his/her knowledge of appropriate antibiotic use, whereas patient B is instructed to say nothing beyond describing his/her symptoms. We find that a patient’s knowledge of appropriate antibiotics use reduces both antibiotic prescription rates and drug expenditures. Such knowledge also increases physicians’ information provision about possible side effects, but has a negative impact on the quality of the physician-patient interactions.

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