Does Diversity Matter for Health?
Experimental Evidence from Oakland
NBER Working Paper No. 24787
Issued in June 2018, Revised in May 2019
NBER Program(s):Health Economics
We study the effect of physician workforce diversity on the demand for preventive care among African-American men. In an experiment in Oakland, California, we randomize black men to black or non-black male medical doctors. We use a two-stage design, measuring decisions before (pre-consultation) and after (post-consultation) meeting their assigned doctor. Subjects select a similar number of preventives in the pre-consultation stage, but are much more likely to select every preventive service, particularly invasive services, once meeting with a racially concordant doctor. Our findings suggest black doctors could reduce the black-white male gap in cardiovascular mortality by 19%.
A non-technical summary of this paper is available in the 2018 number 4 issue of the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health. You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.
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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24787