About this Research Topic
Healthcare costs have been increasing worldwide over the last couple of decades, mainly because of aging and the development of expensive new medical technology. More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has created an even stronger pressure on healthcare organizations and budgets. Consequently, the efficient allocation of scarce healthcare resources has received high priority. In order to achieve this, correctly measuring and valuing health benefits is pivotal, with the aid of the relatively new research fields known as behavioral and experimental health economics, is pivotal. Given the nature of healthcare markets, which differ a lot from other markets, these fields are an important addition to the mainstream research conduct, given the nature of healthcare markets, which differ a lot from other markets.
Areas of interest include the study of risk, ambiguity, time, social and altruistic preferences, and decisions under time pressure. Risk and ambiguity preferences are highly relevant for health economics, because health is surrounded with a lot of uncertainty, both at the diagnostic level and the therapeutic level, but also in the context of prevention. Time preferences are studied because many current decisions have consequences only occurring (far) in the future, such as vaccinations and other preventive efforts. Social choice is of interest as equity considerations are often given a lot of attention in the health domain, where issues such as equal access to healthcare and the distribution of life expectancy between different socio-economic classes are under scrutiny in many societies. Health tends to have a large altruistic component, with many people caring not only about their own health, but also the health of others. This is particularly relevant for medical doctors: their degree of altruism can affect the incentive structure that would result in the societal optimal solution. Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the need for a more precise understanding of decisions made under high time pressure.
This Research Topic is devoted to some of the newest insights in behavioral and experimental health economics. The aforementioned preferences are meaningful, because they can largely influence health state valuation methods and they are often related to health-related behavior, such as smoking, drug abuse, drinking, exercising and medication adherence. They also play a large role in medical treatment decisions and in shared decision making between physicians and patients.
In this Research Topic, we seek methodological and empirical studies on the elicitation of individual and social health preferences, preferably with a behavioral economic focus. We also welcome theoretical and review papers.
Keywords: health economics, health services, Behavioral economics, experimental econmoics
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