London School of Economics
25th February 2015, 17h-‐19h
Hôtel-Dieu, Amphithéâtre Lapersonne, 1 Parvis Notre-‐Dame, 75004 Paris
“What is really ‘behavioral’ in behavioral health policy? And does it work? A review of the experimental evidence on risky health behavior”
Across different health systems, there is an increasing interest in applying behavioral economics insights to health policy challenges. Policy decision-makers in developed countries have recently discussed a range of diverse health policy interventions that are commonly brought together under a ‘behavioral’ umbrella. These include, among others: randomized controlled trials, comparison portals, information labels, financial incentives, sin taxes, and nudges. A critical overview is proposed to classify and assess such ‘behavioral’ interventions in the context of risky health behavior. First, operational definitions of ‘behavioral’ policy and ‘behavioral’ economics are proposed. Then, a preliminary distinction is made between ‘behavioral’ insights and experimental methods. A continuum spectrum of types of experiments is discussed for applications in health economics and policy. Next, a taxonomy is proposed that consists of five different ‘clusters’ of health policy interventions: i) preferences-based policies; ii) information-based policies; iii) financial incentives; iv) tax- and subsidy-based policies; and v) nudges. Finally, each cluster of health policies is then scrutinized under two respects: i) what are its genuine insights from ‘behavioral’ economics? ii) what experimental evidence does exist on its practical effectiveness? The discussion highlights the main challenges in drawing a clear mapping between the ‘behavioral’ content of each health policy cluster, and its actual effectiveness in changing health behavior.
Matteo M Galizzi (firstname.lastname@example.org), ESRC Future Research Leader Fellow, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Behavioural Research Lab, LSE Health and Social Care, Department of Social Policy, Centre for the Study of Incentives in Health, Visiting Researcher, Paris School of Economics, Hospinnomics, J-PAL Europe
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