Department of Economics
Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building
Princeton, NJ 08544
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|August 2017||Addressing the Opioid Epidemic: Is There a Role for Physician Education?|
with Janet Currie: w23645
Using national data on 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 practice location, 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 2017||Check Up Before You Check Out: Retail Clinics and Emergency Room Use|
with Diane Alexander, Janet Currie: w23585
Policies such as liberalizing scope-of-practice rules about nurse practitioners have helped to fuel the rise of retail clinics nationwide. Given concern about inefficient use of the ER increasing health care costs, we use all emergency room (ER) visits in New Jersey from 2006-2014 to examine the impact of retail clinics on ER usage. We find that people residing close to an open clinic are 4.1-12.3 percent less likely to use an ER for preventable conditions and minor acute conditions. Our estimates suggest an annual cost savings of over $70 million from reduced ER usage if retail clinics were readily available across New Jersey.
|April 2015||Is 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.