Sofia Amaral-Garcia, Mattia Nardotto, Carol Propper, Tommaso Valletti, 15 December 2020

The internet is fundamentally changing the relationship between healthcare suppliers and demanders, leading to concerns that social media will increase demand for unnecessary and unsafe products and reduce demand for appropriate treatments. This column looks at demand in the UK for caesarean section births, and finds that mothers with better, faster access to the internet are 2.5% more likely to have a C-section than mothers living in areas with worse internet access. This effect comes from an increase in elective C-sections, with no effect of the internet on the likelihood of having an emergency C-section.

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