This summer I was lucky enough to work on an exciting health care economics project analyzing the effects of collusion in the health care market. In February of 2012 the majority of gynecologists in a small city in Chile formed a trade association to bargain for better rates from insurers. After unsuccessful negotiations, the physicians terminated their contracts with the insurers and collectively agreed to set a new minimum price. The out-of-pocket price rose 200% on average. We hypothesized that this collusion would have a negative effect on patient outcomes. Using a difference-in-differences analysis in STATA on the birth data from Chile during those years we examine changes in birth outcomes. We compare before and after, between the city where the collusion occurred (treatment) and a neighboring unaffected city (control), as well as across the private and public healthcare systems. We show some significant changes to the incidences of premature births and first quintile height births. We also show a significant decrease in the proportion of births with doctors present as well as a significant switching effect from the private system to the public system.
I learned a lot about the process of research from the conception of an idea to its eventual presentation. My research mentor, Dr. Atal, was an incredibly helpful resource for me throughout the project. For my research, I cleaned, standardized, and analyzed data sets through the use of R and STATA programming software. I utilized statistical and empirical economic methods to analyze my data, providing a quantitative perspective on the effects of collusion in the city. This helped me develop my coding and economics skills. The knowledge and way of thinking that I learned from this experience have both been incredible assets in my classwork and helped to round out my education. I am thankful to my research mentor, the College Alumni Society, and CURF for this amazing opportunity.