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Risk Attitudes And The Demand For Private Health Insurance: The Importance Of 'Captive Preferences'

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  • Joan Costa-Font
  • Jaume García-Villar

Abstract

Captivity to a mainstream public insurer, is hypothesized to constrain the choice of purchasing private health insurance, by influencing risk attitudes. Namely, risk averse individuals are more likely to stay captive to the National Health System (NHS). To empirically test this hypothesis we use a small scale database from Catalonia to explore the determinants of private health insurance (PHI) purchase under different forms of captivity along with a measure of risk attitudes. Our results confirm that the captivity corrections are significant and can potentially bias the estimates of the demand for PHI. Risk aversion increases the probability of an individual being captive to the NHS. The latter suggests a potential behavioural (or cultural) mechanism to isolate the influence of risk attitudes on the demand for PHI in publicly financed health systems. Copyright © 2009 The Authors Journal compilation © CIRIEC 2009.

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  • Joan Costa-Font & Jaume García-Villar, 2009. "Risk Attitudes And The Demand For Private Health Insurance: The Importance Of 'Captive Preferences'," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 80(4), pages 499-519, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:annpce:v:80:y:2009:i:4:p:499-519
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    Cited by:

    1. Joan COSTA‐FONT & Christophe Courbage & Katherine Swartz, 2015. "Financing Long‐Term Care: Ex Ante, Ex Post or Both?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24, pages 45-57, March.
    2. Kiil, Astrid, 2012. "Private health insurance and the use of health care services - a review of the theoretical literature with application to voluntary private health insurance in universal health care systems," COHERE Working Paper 2012:1, University of Southern Denmark, COHERE - Centre of Health Economics Research.
    3. Kiil, Astrid, 2012. "What characterises the privately insured in universal health care systems? A review of the empirical evidence," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 60-75.

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