NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Molly Schnell

Princeton University
Department of Economics
Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building
Princeton, NJ 08544

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org

NBER Working Papers and Publications

August 2017Addressing the Opioid Epidemic: Is There a Role for Physician Education?
with Janet Currie: w23645
Using data on all opioid prescriptions written by physicians from 2006 to 2014, we uncover a striking relationship between opioid prescribing and medical school rank. Even within the same specialty and county of practice, physicians who completed their initial training at top medical schools write significantly fewer opioid prescriptions annually than physicians from lower ranked schools. Additional evidence suggests that some of this gradient represents a causal effect of education rather than patient selection across physicians or physician selection across medical schools. Altering physician education may therefore be a useful policy tool in fighting the current epidemic.
July 2017Check Up Before You Check Out: Retail Clinics and Emergency Room Use
with Diane Alexander, Janet Currie: w23585
Retail clinics are an innovation that has the potential to improve competition in health care markets. We use the universe of emergency room (ER) visits in New Jersey from 2006-2014 to examine the impact of retail clinics on ER usage. We find significant effects of retail clinics on ER visits for both minor and preventable conditions; Residents residing close to an open clinic are 4.1-12.3 percent less likely to use an ER for these conditions. Our estimates suggest annual cost savings from reduced ER usage of over $70 million if retail clinics were made readily available across New Jersey.
April 2015Is the Focus on Food Deserts Fruitless? Retail Access and Food Purchases Across the Socioeconomic Spectrum
with Jessie Handbury, Ilya Rahkovsky: w21126
Using novel data describing the healthfulness of household food purchases and the retail landscapes consumers face, we measure the role of access in explaining why wealthier and more educated households purchase healthier foods. We find that spatial differences in access, though significant, are small relative to spatial differences in the nutritional content of sales. Socioeconomic disparities in nutritional consumption exist even among households with equivalent access, and the healthfulness of household consumption responds minimally to improvements in local retail environments. Our results indicate that access-improving policies alone will eliminate less than one third of existing socioeconomic disparities in nutritional consumption.
 
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