A significant share of deliveries are performed by Cesarian section (C-section) in Europe and in many developed and developing countries. The aims of this thesis are to highlight the non medical, especially economic and financial, incentives that explain the use of C-section, as well as the medical consequences of C-section on women's health, in regard with other factors of ob¬stetrical care quality such as hospital concentration. Those diagnoses enable us to exhibit ways of improvement of obstetrical care quality in France. Our analysis focus on two countries, France and Switzerland. In the first part of the thesis, we show the influence of two non medical factors on the C-section use, namely the hospital payment system on the one hand and the obstetricians behaviour, especially their demand for leisure, on the other hand. With French data on the year 2003, we show firstly that the fee-for-service payment system of private for profit hospitals induces a higher probability of using C-section. Obstetricians play also a preeminent role in the decision to use a C-section, as the probability of a C-section rises with the number of obstetricians. We then focus on a French reform introduced in 2004, to investigate the impact of Prospective Payment System on obstetric practise. We show that the rise of C-section rate between 2003 and 2006 is mainly caused by changes in hospitals and patients features. Obstetricians practises do not vary a lot for patients with the same risk code. In the mean time however, the number of women coded with a high risk rises. This can be caused by improvements in the quality of coding, obstetricians chosing codes that match better the real health state of their patients. Yet, it can also show that obstetricians change their coding practises to justify the use of certain practises, such as C-section, with no regard to the health state of patients. Financial factors are not the only non medical fac¬tors that can influence the resort to C-section. Using Shelton Brown ΠΙ identification strategy, we focus on the potential impact of obstetricians leisure preference on the use of C-section. We use the distributions of days and hours of delivering and the types of C-section - planned or emergency C-sections - to show that the obstetricians demand for leisure has a significant impact on the resort to C-section, but only in emergency situations. The second part of the thesis deals with some ways to improve obstetric care quality. We use on the one hand swiss and french data to study the impact of C-section on the patients' probability of having an obstetric complication and on the other hand the influence of hospital concentration on the quality of obstetric care. We find the same results as former medical studies about the risks entailed by C-section on obstetric complications.These results prove women ought to be better informed of the medical consequences of C-section and that the slowing of C-section use should be a priority of public health policy. We finally focus on another way to improve obstetric care quality, that is hospital lmarket concentration. We investigate the impact of hospital concentration by integrating the Herfindahl-Hirschman index in our model, on health care quality, measured by the HCUP indicator. We find that hospital concentration has a negative impact on obstetric care quality, which undermines today's policy of hospital closings in France.
Keywords: Hospital; C-section; Payment System; Counterfactual Estimation; Quality of Care.
Thesis co-supervised with the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris