Competition and preferences in health care markets: Behavioral effects of incentives and framing.
Knowledge on how health care providers and patients respond to incentives is necessary in order to implement health policy reforms effectively. Behavioral research questions can therefore be motivated by the need for evidence-based health policy. Empirical research addressing health policy issues often faces methodological challenges arising, for example, from a lack of control of the environment where data is generated. Unobservable variables or mechanisms might therefore be present, which render a causal interpretation of behavioral changes of providers and patients difficult. Experimental methods can contribute to causal analyses. The aim of the three papers in this session is to contribute to a better understanding of behavior on health care markets by means of controlled laboratory experiments. The first paper analyzes factors influencing the preferred mix of public and private financing, while, the second paper is concerned with incentives for physicians' referral decisions. The third paper elicits individuals' altruism under varying intensities of market competition. Common to the three papers is that they contribute to a better understanding of behavior in health care markets and behavioral results might inform health policies.