Influence and Deterrence: How Obstetricians Respond to Litigation against Themselves and their Colleagues, American Law and Economics Review
The willingness of individuals to engage in a harmful act may be influenced by direct personal experiences and the experiences of others, which can inform individuals about the likely consequences of their actions. In this paper, we examine how obstetricians respond to litigation. It is contended that obstetricians respond to increases in litigiousness by performing more caesarian sections. Using micro data, we examine whether physicians perform more caesarians after they or their colleagues have been contacted about a lawsuit. We observe very small, short-lived increases in caesarian section rates. It does not appear that the recent sharp rise in caesarian section rates is in direct response to litigation. We present indirect evidence that the increase may instead represent a change in consumer tastes.
David Dranove, Yasutora Watanabe
Dranove, David, and Yasutora Watanabe. 2009. Influence and Deterrence: How Obstetricians Respond to Litigation against Themselves and their Colleagues. American Law and Economics Review. 12(1): 69-94.