CCHE Seminar Series: Does Physicians’ Female Socialization Influence Female Patients’ Health?

Does Physicians’ Female Socialization Influence Female Patients’ Health?

Tianyi Wang
University of Toronto, Department of Economics

Friday March 22, 2024, 10am-12pm, HSB Rm. 412 and Zoom

Abstract: While physician behavior is important to patient outcomes, what determines physician behavior and decision making remains to be understood. In this paper, we study the influence of physicians’ families, and particularly their children, on physician behavior and patient health outcomes. Leveraging Danish population register data, we provide evidence that the gender of primary care physicians’ children influence their behavior and thereby female patient health. Conditional on physicians’ number of children, female patients under the care of male physicians with one additional daughter (versus one additional son) are 0.1 percentage point (or 5.4%) less likely to die from women-specific cancers, such as breast cancer. The effect of daughters is only present among male but not female physicians. Exploring potential channels, we find evidence that daughters influence their physician fathers’ empathy and attitudes towards women. Specifically, male physicians with more daughters go the extra mile in caring for their female patients, including screening for cancers among women who have not reached the age for the national cancer screening programs. In addition, male physicians with more daughters exhibit greater attentiveness to female-specific health guidelines, are more inclined to work with women, and are perceived as more empathetic by their female patients than male physicians with only sons.

Tianyi Wang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Toronto. His current research focuses on examining the political impacts of media and information technologies.  He also has a research agenda studying how technologies and public policies affect health and labor market outcomes.  He is a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and an IZA Research Affiliate. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pittsburgh and his B.A. from Colgate University.  Before coming to Toronto, Prof. Wang was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Copenhagen’s Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality (CEBI) and at Princeton University’s Industrial Relations Section.