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Uncertainty, the Demand for Health Care, and Precautionary Saving

Author

Listed:
  • Nocetti Diego

    () (Clarkson University)

  • Smith William T

    () (University of Memphis)

Abstract

We analyze the demand for medical care and precautionary saving in a framework with uncertainty surrounding the incidence of illness and the effectiveness of medical treatments and a representation of preferences that disentangles ordinal preferences, risk preferences, and intertemporal smoothing preferences. We consider a pure consumption model with exogenous health capital and a model where young consumers invest in preventive care to increase their future health stock. In both cases, we establish conditions for the different sources for uncertainty to induce precautionary saving and we evaluate how uncertainty affects the demand of curative and preventive care. We also show that given the self-insurance function of preventive care, consumers' welfare may increase with the degree of uncertainty surrounding health care effectiveness.

Suggested Citation

  • Nocetti Diego & Smith William T, 2010. "Uncertainty, the Demand for Health Care, and Precautionary Saving," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-31, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:10:y:2010:i:1:n:75
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Echazu Luciana & Nocetti Diego & Smith William T., 2012. "A New Look into the Determinants of the Ecological Discount Rate: Disentangling Social Preferences," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-44, April.
    2. Manuela Deidda, 2014. "Precautionary saving under liquidity constraints: evidence from Italy," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 329-360, February.
    3. Patryk Babiarz & Cliff Robb, 2014. "Financial Literacy and Emergency Saving," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 40-50, March.

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