NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Effect of Malpractice Liability on the Specialty of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Jessica Wolpaw Reyes

NBER Working Paper No. 15841
Issued in March 2010
NBER Program(s):   HC   LE

Using data from a 2003 survey of 1,476 obstetrician-gynecologists, the effects of malpractice pressure on the specialty are investigated. Physicians report having made substantial changes to their practice in response to the general environment and to liability pressures. Regression analysis finds that liability pressure increases reports of income and practice reductions, but direct effects on actual income and productivity are less clear. Liability pressures may lead to a specialization effect, with some physicians concentrating more in obstetrics and others in gynecological surgery. Overall, the evidence suggests that liability pressure has moderate but significant effects on the specialty.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w15841

Published: “The Effect of Malpractice Liability on Obstetrics and Gynecology: Taking the Measure of a Crisis,” with Rene Reyes, New England Law Review, 47:315, 2012.

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