Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research - Research Publications

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    Primary care physicians and infant mortality: Evidence from Brazil
    Russo, LX ; Scott, A ; Sivey, P ; Dias, J ; Brownie, SM (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2019-05-31)
    Primary health care has been recognized as a critical strategy for improving population health in developing countries. This paper investigates the effect of primary care physicians on the infant mortality rate in Brazil using a dynamic panel data approach. This method accounts for the endogeneity problem and the persistence of infant mortality over time. The empirical analysis uses an eight-year panel of municipalities between 2005 and 2012. The results indicate that primary care physician supply contributed to the decline of infant mortality in Brazil. An increase of one primary care physician per 10,000 population was associated with 7.08 fewer infant deaths per 10,000 live births. This suggests that, in addition to other determinants, primary care physicians can play an important role in accounting for the reduction of infant mortality rates.
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    Parents' Demand for Sugar Sweetened Beverages for Their Pre-School Children: Evidence from a Stated-Preference Experiment
    Yang, O ; Sivey, P ; de Silva, AM ; Scott, A (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2020-03-01)
    Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages exhibits strong associations with weight gain, obesity, and dental caries, especially in young children. The aim of this article is to estimate price elasticities for parents' sugar-sweetened beverages consumption choices with respect to their pre-school children and to estimate elasticities with respect to nutritional attribute labels across sugar-sweetened beverages. Our results show that 1% increase in the price of fizzy drink, juice and cordial would reduce pre-school children's consumption of each drink by 0.80%, 0.51%, and 0.34% respectively. Such price effects on children's consumption do not substantially differ between high and low-income respondents but the effect on the children's Fizzy Drink consumption is significantly larger for respondents from large households than those from small households and are significantly lower than the price effects on the consumption of the rest of the family for Juice and Cordial. The marginal effects of demand with respect to nutritional attribute labels of sugar-sweetened beverages matter for Juice and Cordial, and are strongest for low-income families; however, these effects do not substantially differ between large and small-household respondents.
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    Competition, prices and quality in the market for physician consultations
    Gravelle, H ; SCOTT, A ; Sivey, P ; Yong, J (Wiley, 2016-04)
    Prices for consultations with General Practitioners (GP's) in Australia are unregulated, and patients pay the difference between the price set by the GP and a fixed reimbursement from the national tax-funded Medicare insurance scheme. We construct a Vickrey-Salop model of GP price and quality competition and test its predictions using individual GP-level data on prices, the proportion of patients who are charged no out-of-pocket fee, average consultation length, and characteristics of the GP's, their practices and their local areas. We measure the competition to which the GP is exposed by the distance to other GP practices and allow for the endogeneity of GP location decisions with measures of area characteristics and area fixed-effects. Within areas, GP's with more distant competitors charge higher prices and a smaller proportion of their patients make no out-of-pocket payment. GP's with more distant competitors also have shorter consultations, though the effect is small and statistically insignificant.
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    Junior doctors' preferences for specialty choice
    Sivey, P ; Scott, A ; Witt, J ; Joyce, C ; Humphreys, J (ELSEVIER, 2012-12-01)
    A number of studies suggest that there is an over-supply of specialists and an under-supply of general practitioners in many developed countries. Previous econometric studies of specialty choice from the US suggest that although income plays a role, other non-pecuniary factors may be important. This paper presents a novel application of a choice experiment to identify the effects of expected future earnings and other attributes on specialty choice. We find the implied marginal wage estimated from our discrete choice model is close to the actual wages of senior specialists, but much higher than those of senior GPs. In a policy simulation we find that increasing GPs' earnings by $50,000, or increasing opportunities for procedural or academic work can increase the number of junior doctors choosing general practice by between 8 and 13 percentage points. The simulation implies an earnings elasticity of specialty choice of 0.95.
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    THE EFFECTS OF AN INCENTIVE PROGRAM ON QUALITY OF CARE IN DIABETES MANAGEMENT
    Scott, A ; Schurer, S ; Jensen, PH ; Sivey, P (WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2009-09-01)
    An incentive program for general practitioners to encourage systematic and igh-quality care in chronic disease management was introduced in Australia in 1999. There is little empirical evidence and ambiguous theoretical guidance on which effects to expect. This paper evaluates the impact of the incentive program on quality of care in diabetes, as measured by the probability of ordering an HbA1c test. The empirical analysis is conducted with a unique data set and a bivariate probit model to control for the self-selection process of practices into the program. The study finds that the incentive program increased the probability of an HbA1c test being ordered by 20 percentage points and that participation in the program is facilitated by the support of Divisions of General Practice.