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A Rationale for Searching (Imprecise) Health Information


  • F. Barigozzi
  • R. Levaggi


We analyse a model of patient decision-making where anxiety about the future characterizes the patient’s utility function. Anxiety corresponds to fear of bad news and results in the patient being averse to information. First, the patient chooses the accuracy of a signal which discloses information on his health status. Then he up-dates his beliefs according to Bayes’s rule and chooses an action. We show that the choice of imprecise information can be optimal because it allows the patient to trade off the damage deriving from complete ignorance with the anxiety raised by the news about his health level.

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  • F. Barigozzi & R. Levaggi, 2006. "A Rationale for Searching (Imprecise) Health Information," Working Papers 559, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  • Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:559

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Wagner, Todd H. & Hu, Teh-wei & Hibbard, Judith H., 2001. "The demand for consumer health information," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 1059-1075, November.
    2. M. Kate Bundorf & Laurence Baker & Sara Singer & Todd Wagner, 2004. "Consumer Demand for Health Information on the Internet," NBER Working Papers 10386, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2001. "Psychological Expected Utility Theory and Anticipatory Feelings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 55-79.
    4. Eliaz, Kfir & Spiegler, Ran, 2006. "Can anticipatory feelings explain anomalous choices of information sources?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 87-104, July.
    5. Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2004. "The supply of information by a concerned expert," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 487-505, July.
    6. F. Barigozzi & R. Levaggi, 2005. "New Developments in Physician Agency: the Role of Patient Information," Working Papers 550, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    7. Giuseppe Moscarini & Lones Smith, 2001. "The Optimal Level of Experimentation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1629-1644, November.
    8. Koszegi, Botond, 2003. "Health anxiety and patient behavior," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 1073-1084, November.
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    1. F. Barigozzi & R. Levaggi, 2005. "New Developments in Physician Agency: the Role of Patient Information," Working Papers 550, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.

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