The optimal negligence standard in health care under supply-side cost sharing

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Abstract

This paper elaborates on the optimal negligence standard in a world where physicians choose their level of care subject to erroneous court judgements and to the degree of supply-side cost sharing. Uncertain liability in malpractice lawsuits leads physicians to provide excessive and insufficient care, which results in a loss of social welfare. The standard that maximizes welfare depends on the cost share: Under traditional, close to full cost reimbursement it is lower than the first-best level of care, while under substantial supply-side cost sharing it increases and may even exceed the first best.

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