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Currently submitted to: Journal of Medical Internet Research

Date Submitted: May 12, 2019
Open Peer Review Period: May 15, 2019 - Jul 10, 2019
(currently open for review and needs more reviewers - can you help?)

The Impact of Monetary Incentives on Physicians’ Prosocial Behaviors: Evidence from China

  • Dong Jing; 
  • Yu Jin; 
  • Jianwei Liu



In online medical-consulting platforms, physicians can get both economic returns and social returns by offering online medical service such as answering questions and sharing healthcare knowledge with patients. The online prosocial behavior of physicians could bring many benefits to healthcare industry. Meanwhile, monetary incentives can encourage physicians to make more engagements in the online medical communities. However, little research has studied the impact of monetary incentives on physicians’ prosocial behaviors and its heterogeneity.


This study aims to explore the effects of monetary incentives on physicians’ prosocial behaviors as well as to investigate the moderation effects of self- and others’ cognition of physicians’ competence.


A fixed-effect specification-regression model based on a difference-in-difference (DID) design with robust standard errors clustered at the physician level using monthly panel data, including 26,543 physicians in 3,851 hospitals in 133 months (Nov. 2006–Dec. 2017) from a leading online healthcare platform in China.


The results of this study show that the introduction of monetary incentives has a positive effect on physicians’ prosocial behavior. In addition, this effect is enhanced for physicians with high level of self- and others’ competence recognition.


Our study investigates physician’s online prosocial behavior through self-determination theory embedded in online healthcare platforms. We provide evidence on the effect of monetary incentives on physicians’ prosocial behaviors in the telemedicine markets and provide insight for relevant stakeholders into how to design an effective incentive mechanism to improve physicians’ prosocial engagements.


Please cite as:

Jing D, Jin Y, Liu J

The Impact of Monetary Incentives on Physicians’ Prosocial Behaviors: Evidence from China

JMIR Preprints. 12/05/2019:14685

DOI: 10.2196/14685


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