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IEMS Seminars in Health and Labor Economics


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Interpreting Signals in the Labour Market: Evidence from Medical Referrals

Heather Sarsons (Harvard University)

demain  -  12:00-13:00, salle Internef 149

Host(s): Rafael Lalive

This project provides evidence that a person's gender influences the way others interpret information about his or her ability and documents the implications for gender inequality in labor markets. Using data on primary care physicians' (PCPs) referrals to surgeons, I find that PCPs view patient outcomes differently depending on the performing surgeon's gender. PCPs become more pessimistic about a female surgeon's ability than a male's after a patient death, indicated by a sharper drop in referrals to the female surgeon. However, PCPs become more optimistic about a male surgeon's ability after a good patient outcome, indicated by a larger increase in the number of referrals the male surgeon receives. PCPs also change their behavior toward other female surgeons after a bad experience with one female surgeon, becoming less likely to refer to new women in the same specialty. There are no such spillovers to other men after a bad experience with one male surgeon. Consistent with learning models, PCPs' reactions to events are strongest when they have just begun to refer to a surgeon.

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demain Interpreting Signals in the Labour Market: Evidence from Medical Referrals
Heather Sarsons (Harvard University)
Host(s): Rafael Lalive
12:00-13:00, salle Internef 149

click here [↓] to go to the attached pdf

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