NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Custom Made Versus Ready to Wear Treatments; Behavioral Propensities in Physician's Choices

Richard G. Frank, Richard J. Zeckhauser

NBER Working Paper No. 13445
Issued in September 2007
NBER Program(s):   HC

To customize treatments to individual patients entails costs of coordination and cognition. Thus, providers sometimes choose treatments based on norms for broad classes of patients. We develop behavioral hypotheses explaining when and why doctors customize to the particular patient, and when instead they employ "ready-to-wear" treatments. Our empirical studies examining length of office visits and physician prescribing behavior find evidence of norm-following behavior. Some such behavior, from our studies and from the literature, proves sensible; but other behavior seems far from optimal.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w13445

Published: Frank, Richard G. & Zeckhauser, Richard J., 2007. "Custom-made versus ready-to-wear treatments: Behavioral propensities in physicians' choices," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 1101-1127, December. citation courtesy of

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