The European Journal of Health Economics

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 225–236 | Cite as

Variations in activity and practice patterns: a French study for GPs

  • Sophie BéjeanEmail author
  • Christine Peyron
  • Renaud Urbinelli
Original paper



To identify the different practice profiles of general practitioners (GPs) in order to test the hypothesis of heterogeneity in physician behaviour.


For the year 2000, 4,660 GPs from two regions in France. Variables: volume and structure of the physicians’ medical activity, income level, personal characteristics, socioeconomic and geographical environment, characteristics of their patients.


A cluster analysis to identify different practice profiles and a regression analysis to display the determinants of the physicians’ activity.


Four different homogeneous groups can be identified, each one associating a physician’s level of activity to his socioeconomic status. The level and the intensity of medical activity depend on individual factors, patients’ characteristics as well as the socioeconomic context.


There is no uniformity in the way GPs practice medicine. An immediate consequence is that any cost-containment measure that is applied uniformly to all GPs inevitably results in different outcomes according to the physicians’ category type.


Medical activity Practice profiles General practitioner Cluster analysis Hypothesis test 

JEL Classification

I 11 



This research was funded by MiRe-DREES of the French Ministère de l’emploi et de la solidarité. We wish to thank Victor Rodwin and three anonymous referees whose comments made it possible to substantially modify this article. However, we are solely responsible for any imperfections.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sophie Béjean
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Christine Peyron
    • 1
  • Renaud Urbinelli
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire d’Economie et GestionLEG UMR 5118 CNRS-Université de BourgogneBourgogneFrance
  2. 2.Pôle d’Economie et de GestionDijon CedexFrance

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