The Effect of Activity-Based Payment on Dentists’ Activity: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in the UK National Health Service
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The extent to which remuneration systems affect the behaviour of health care professionals is of considerable importance in the administration of publicly funded heath care systems. Using data across two jurisdictions in the United Kingdom, in only one of which remuneration was changed, we compare the extent of measured dental activity at the dentist level in order to ascertain the impact of moving to activity-based remuneration. We find that there are large and statistically significant increases in activity as dentists moved to the activity-based system and that a dentist’s previous form of contract is an important determinant of the magnitude of the effect. We also explore the extent to which dentists’ professional attitudes can explain differences in their activity and find that some aspects of self-reported attitudes are associated with observable differences in activity.