Why do We Avoid Doctors? The View from Behavioral Economics Standpoint

32 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2008

See all articles by Ksenia Panidi

Ksenia Panidi

National Research University - Higher School of Economics

Date Written: February 20, 2008

Abstract

Some people visit doctors very rarely because of a fear to receive negative results of medical inspection, others prefer to resort to medical services in order to prevent any diseases. Recent research in the field of Behavioral Economics suggests that human's preferences may be significantly influenced by the choice of a reference point. It seems natural to think that the same is true for health consumption. This paper considers a model with reference-dependent utility that allows to characterize how people choose their health care strategy, namely, the frequency of visiting doctors. The study focuses on the effect of loss aversion as potential factor that may lead to considerable delays in seeking medical advice. The model constructed in the paper shows that loss-avers agents may have incentives to avoid visiting the doctor under high risk of illness and when the net benefits of treatment are sufficiently low.

Keywords: loss aversion, health anxiety, reference-dependent preferences, anticipation, preference for uncertainty

JEL Classification: D81, D84, I19

Suggested Citation

Panidi, Ksenia, Why do We Avoid Doctors? The View from Behavioral Economics Standpoint (February 20, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1150328 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1150328

Ksenia Panidi (Contact Author)

National Research University - Higher School of Economics ( email )

Shabolovka 26
Moscow, 119049
Russia

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/kseniapanidi/welcome

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