The consequences of professionalization for health services delivery: Evidence from optometry

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Abstract

In this paper the effect of the professionalization of optometry on the price and content of optomeric services is examined. Cross-sectional data from a national survey of optometrists, along with data on state regulation of optometry, are used. A multiple regression analysis shows that measures of professionalization are strongly associated with examinations that are higher in price and longer and more complex in content. The findings on the content of services are consistent with both the 'power' perspective on professionalization and the more traditional functionalist prespective. The findings on the price of services support the power perspective on professionalization, which asserts that professions use social and political power for their own self-interest. The financial costs of professionalization, after accounting for the longer and more complex nature of services, are huge even for the one health service investigated here (the optometric examination).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-386
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Health and Social Behavior
Volume20
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1979

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