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May 13, 2009


The professional world's equivalent of unions, then?

Paul (1984) finds no evidence that states licensing physicians experienced higher quality care as measured by mortality rates.

Which states do not require physicians to be licensed?

U.R. - Paul's 1984 abstract is here. It examines the *history* of physician licensing.


Check out this physician salary survey.

I don't know how much of these huge salaries is diverted to pay for insurance and college. But the most likely story to me is that the AMA has been able to use its monopoly to limit the number of doctors to far below what the market demands, driving their price up while at the same time giving us shoddy health care.

But going to Congress with a plan to loosen physician licensing is a political non-starter.

Maybe a cap on medical college tuition, and on medical lawsuit rewards, would have more of a chance.

Hey Robin,

I frequently read and always enjoy your posts. My appreciation from Overcoming Bias comes from the fact that while people usually say "If you torture the statistics long enough you can get them to say anything" it seems in your Overcoming Bias posts usually avoid precisely that.

In light of that, I was struck by two things

1) How long are the Chapters in these books? The numbers 1 and 2 look a lot smaller than double digit numbers but may be much larger

2) How fundamental are the lessons that lie behind the phenomenon? Economics textbooks are not meant to be proportional to how many laborers are affected, but to the theories of Labor Economics.

It almost seems like you thought of a point and wanted to make it even though it turned out not to be there. Any chance you could respond? Thanks

-Economics/Rationality Student

As a statistician, every time I find a paper with a dodgy study design, or inappropriate analysis or conclusions, I entertain the thought that there should be a law that only licensed and presumably competent people be allowed to analyze data.

Do economists feel the same way when they see economics applied incorrectly?

Evan, I can assure you that there are deep important economic theories relevant to licensing. I even linked to one in the post.

Evan, it sounds as if you think Robin's point is strengthened if "1 chapter" is assumed to be a small amount, but that's wrong. The numbers that Robin's saying are small are the ones in the second, not the fourth, column of his table.

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