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Bunching at the Kink: Implications for Spending Responses to Health Insurance Contracts

In: Social Insurance Programs (Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar, TAPES)

Author

Listed:
  • Liran Einav
  • Amy Finkelstein
  • Paul Schrimpf

Abstract

A large literature in empirical public finance relies on “bunching” to identify a behavioral response to non-linear incentives and to translate this response into an economic object to be used counterfactually. We conduct this type of analysis in the context of prescription drug insurance for the elderly in Medicare Part D, where a kink in the individual's budget set generates substantial bunching in annual drug expenditure around the famous “donut hole.” We show that different alternative economic models can match the basic bunching pattern, but have very different quantitative implications for the counterfactual spending response to alternative insurance contracts. These findings illustrate the importance of modeling choices in mapping a compelling reduced form pattern into an economic object of interest.
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Suggested Citation

  • Liran Einav & Amy Finkelstein & Paul Schrimpf, 2016. "Bunching at the Kink: Implications for Spending Responses to Health Insurance Contracts," NBER Chapters, in: Social Insurance Programs (Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar, TAPES), National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:13814
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies

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