Disability Inequality

Impact of physician gender on disability evaluations

Interesting paper by Cabral and Dillender (2024). The randomization of gender assignment occurs since the Texas workers compensation insurance relies on random assignment of doctors to patients through their dispute resolution process. The abstract is below:

Little is known about what drives gender disparities in health care and related social insurance benefits. Using data and variation from the Texas workers’ compensation program, we study the impact of gender match between doctors and patients on medical evaluations and associated disability benefits. Compared to differences among their male patient counterparts, female patients randomly assigned a female doctor rather than a male doctor are 5.2 percent more likely to be evaluated as disabled and receive 8.6 percent more subsequent cash benefits on average. There is no analogous gender-match effect for male patients. Our estimates indicate that increasing the share of female patients evaluated by female doctors may substantially shrink gender gaps in medical evaluations and associated outcomes.

The full article is at the American Economic Review here.