The willingness of individuals to engage in a harmful act may be influenced by direct personal experiences and the experiences of others, which can inform individuals about the likely consequences of their actions. In this paper, we examine how obstetricians respond to litigation. It is contended that obstetricians respond to increases in litigiousness by performing more cesarean sections. Using micro data, we examine whether physicians perform more cesareans after they or their colleagues have been contacted about a lawsuit. We observe very small, short-lived increases in cesarean section rates. It does not appear that the recent sharp rise in cesarean section rates is in direct response to litigation.
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