Public Policy and Healthcare Decision-Making
Infectious diseases are distinctive in two dimensions: on one hand, they can spread quickly in a population, which calls for effective policies to prevent, identify and control pathogens in a timely manner; on the other hand, the success of these public policies relies on cooperation from the population. For example, pathogen carriers may approach or avoid health providers before public health officials identify them, and the population vulnerable to an infectious disease may or may not take preventive measures to reduce their risk. Hence, it is extremely important to understand how consumer decision and public policy intertwine in preventing and controlling infectious diseases. This session attempts to address this question with empirical evidence from three countries. The first paper examines how Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries make their flu shot choice in the US. The second paper conducts a randomized controlled trial in India, aiming to understand whether financial incentives can encourage Tuberculosis patients to refer their neighbors and friends for TB screening and testing. The third paper focuses on the 1985 Turkish Immunization Campaign against measles, polio, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis for young children and investigates the impact of this campaign on health and human capital.