Does Diversity Matter for Health?
Experimental Evidence from Oakland

Marcella Alsan, Owen Garrick, Grant C. Graziani

Bibliographic Information

NBER Working Paper No. 24787
Issued in June 2018, Revised in May 2019
NBER Program(s):HE

A non-technical summary of this paper is available in the 2018 number 4 issue of the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health. You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

This paper was revised on May 28, 2019

Available Formats


We study the effect of physician workforce diversity on the demand for preventive care among African-American men. In an experiment in Oakland, California, we randomize black men to black or non-black male medical doctors. We use a two-stage design, measuring decisions before (pre-consultation) and after (post-consultation) meeting their assigned doctor. Subjects select a similar number of preventives in the pre-consultation stage, but are much more likely to select every preventive service, particularly invasive services, once meeting with a racially concordant doctor. Our findings suggest black doctors could reduce the black-white male gap in cardiovascular mortality by 19%.

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