Flu Shots, Mammograms, and the Perception of Probabilities

39 Pages Posted: 31 May 2011

See all articles by Katherine Grace Carman

Katherine Grace Carman

RAND Corporation

Peter Kooreman

Tilburg University - Center and Faculty of Economics and Business Administration; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

We study individuals' decisions to decline or accept preventive health care interventions such as flu shots and mammograms. In particular, we analyze the role of perceptions of the effectiveness of the intervention, by eliciting individuals' subjective probabilities of sickness and survival, with and without the interventions. Respondents appear to be aware of some of the qualitative relationships between risk factors and probabilities. However, on average they have very poor perceptions of the absolute probability levels as reported in the epidemiological literature. Perceptions are less accurate if a respondent is female and has no college degree. Perceived probabilities significantly affect the subsequent take-up rate of flu shots and mammograms.

Keywords: preventive health care, probability perceptions

JEL Classification: I10

Suggested Citation

Carman, Katherine Grace and Kooreman, Peter, Flu Shots, Mammograms, and the Perception of Probabilities. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5739. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1855191

Katherine Grace Carman (Contact Author)

RAND Corporation ( email )

1776 Main Street
P.O. Box 2138
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States

Peter Kooreman

Tilburg University - Center and Faculty of Economics and Business Administration ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.peterkooreman.nl

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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