We find that where a doctor received his/her initial training matters in terms of predicting how likely they are to prescribe opioids: physicians trained at the lowest ranked US medical schools prescribe nearly three times as many opioids per year as physicians trained at the top medical school. This striking inverse relationship reflects two factors: (1) physicians from lower ranked medical schools are more likely to write any opioid prescriptions; and (2) conditional on being an opioid prescriber, physicians for lower ranked medical schools write more opioid prescriptions on average. This prescribing gradient is particularly pronounced among GPs. Our results demonstrate that if all GPs prescribed like those from the top ranked school, we would
have had 56.5% fewer opioid prescriptions and 8.5% fewer deaths over the period 2006 to 2014.
Full text: http://www.nber.org/papers/w23645.pdf