The Articulation Effect of Government Policy: Health Insurance Mandates Versus Taxes
AbstractWe examine how the articulation of government policy affects behavior. Our experiment compares a government mandate to purchase health insurance to a financially equivalent tax on the uninsured. Participants report their probability of purchasing health insurance under one of the two articulations of the policy. The experiment was conducted in four waves, from December 2011 to November 2012. We document the controversy over the Affordable Care Act’s insurance mandate provision that changed the political discourse during the year. Pre-controversy, articulating the policy as a mandate, rather than a financially equivalent tax, increased probability of insurance purchase by 10.6 percentage points — an effect comparable to a $1000 decrease in annual premiums. After the controversy, the mandate is no more effective than the tax. Our results show that how a policy is articulated affects behavior and that persuasion and public opinion management can help achieve policy objectives at lower cost.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18913.
Date of creation: Mar 2013
Date of revision:
Note: HC LE PE
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, and Operations
- D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics; Underlying Principles
- D04 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Policy: Formulation; Implementation; Evaluation
- H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
- H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
- I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
- K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-03-30 (All new papers)
- NEP-EXP-2013-03-30 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-HEA-2013-03-30 (Health Economics)
- NEP-IAS-2013-03-30 (Insurance Economics)
- NEP-REG-2013-03-30 (Regulation)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Kesternich, Iris & Heiss, Florian & McFadden, Daniel & Winter, Joachim, 2013.
"Suit the action to the word, the word to the action: Hypothetical choices and real decisions in Medicare Part D,"
Journal of Health Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1313-1324.
- Kesternich, Iris & Heiss, Florian & McFadden, Daniel & Winter, Joachim, 2012. "Suit the action to the word, the word to the action: Hypothetical choices and real decisions in Medicare Part D," Discussion Papers in Economics 14124, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Kesternich, Iris & Heiss, Florian & McFadden, Daniel L. & Winter, Joachim, 2013. "Suit the action to the word, the word to the action: Hypothetical choices and real decisions in Medicare Part D," Munich Reprints in Economics 19474, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Camerer, Colin F. & Hogarth, Robin M., 1999.
"The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework,"
1059, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
- Johnson, Eric J, et al, 1993. " Framing, Probability Distortions, and Insurance Decisions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 35-51, August.
- Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
- Keith M. Marzilli Ericson & Andreas Fuster, 2011. "Expectations as Endowments: Evidence on Reference-Dependent Preferences from Exchange and Valuation Experiments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1879-1907.
- Jonathan Gruber, 2011. "Massachusetts points the way to successful health care reform," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(1), pages 184-192, December.
- Martin B. Hackmann & Jonathan T. Kolstad & Amanda E. Kowalski, 2013.
"Adverse Selection and an Individual Mandate: When Theory Meets Practice,"
NBER Working Papers
19149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Martin B. Hackmann & Jonathan T. Kolstad & Amanda E. Kowalski, 2013. "Adverse Selection and an Individual Mandate: When Theory Meets Practice," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1899, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Keith M Marzilli Ericson & Amanda Starc, 2013. "How Product Standardization Affects Choice: Evidence from the Massachusetts Health Insurance Exchange," NBER Working Papers 19527, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.