Time Dependency in Physician Decision-Making

Lawrence JIN, Rui TANG, Han YE, Junjian YI, Songfa ZHONG

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Using data on more than 250,000 emergency department (ED) visits, we study the time-of-day effect on physician decision-making and patient outcomes. After controlling for patient characteristics, physician fixed effects, and work hours, we find that cases treated at night have significantly lower probability of inpatient admission and involve fewer medical tests. These cases are also more likely to revisit the ED, which supports the decline in physician performance. While we cannot completely rule out the possibility of limited hospital arrangements, our findings are most consistent with the detrimental effect of disrupted circadian rhythms during night shifts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-288
Number of pages5
JournalAEA Papers and Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - May 2020
Externally publishedYes


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