Diagnosing expertise: Human capital, decision making, and performance among physicians

Janet Currie, W. Bentley Macleod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Expert performance is often evaluated assuming that good experts have good outcomes. We examine expertise in medicine and develop a model that allows for two dimensions of physician performance: decision making and procedural skill. Better procedural skill increases the use of intensive procedures for everyone, while better decision making results in a reallocation of procedures from fewer low-risk to high-risk cases. We show that poor diagnosticians can be identified using administrative data and that improving decision making improves birth outcomes by reducing C-section rates at the bottom of the risk distribution and increasing them at the top of the distribution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-43
Number of pages43
JournalJournal of Labor Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Industrial relations
  • Economics and Econometrics


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