News & Events
Heather Sarsons, University of Toronto - October 4, 2018
October 4, 2018
Heather Sarsons, University of Toronto, will present a seminar at 4:00 PM in Arts 807
Seminar Title: Interpreting Signals: Evidence from Medical Referrals
Abstract: This paper 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 physicians' referrals to surgical specialists, I find that referring physicians view patient outcomes differently depending on the performing surgeon's gender. Physicians 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, physicians 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. Physicians 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, physicians' reactions to events are strongest when they have just begun to refer to a surgeon. However, the empirical patterns are consistent with Bayesian learning only if physicians do not have rational expectations about the true distribution of surgeon ability.
This seminar is part of the Department of Economics Seminar Series. Everyone is welcome.
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