Trevon Logan - Ohio State

Physician Bias and Racial Disparities in Health: Evidence from Veterans' Pensions

    Date:  10/15/2020 (Thu)

    Time:  3:30pm- 5:00pm

    Location:  ZOOM: https://duke.zoom.us/j/91962742935

    Organizer:  Marcos Rangel


Meeting Schedule: Login or email the organizer to schedule a meeting.

   11:00am - Open for students, please add names: Marwa AlFakhri, Bobby Harris, Jessie West

   11:45am - Kendal Swanson, Laura Stilwell

   12:15pm - Marcos Rangel

   12:45pm - Juan Carlos Suarez Serrato

    1:15pm - Rob Garlick

    1:45pm - Giovanna Merli

    3:30pm - Seminar Presentation (3:30pm to 5:00pm)


    Additional Comments:  We estimate racial differences in longevity using records from cohorts of Union Army veterans. Since veterans received pensions based on proof of disability at medical exams, estimates of the causal effect of income on mortality may be biased, as sicker veterans received larger pensions. To circumvent endogeneity bias, we propose an exogenous source of variation in pension income: the judgment of the doctors who certified disability. We find that doctors appeared to discriminate against black veterans. The discrimination we observe is acute-- we would not observe any racial mortality differences had physicians not been racially biased in determining pension awards. The effect of income on health was indeed large enough to close the black-white mortality gap in the period. Our work emphasizes that the large effects of physicians' attitudes on racial differentials in health, which persist today amongst both veterans and the civilian population, were equally prominent in the past.