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Experiencing breast cancer at the workplace

  • G. Zanella
  • R. Banerjee

We study unique data from a dynamic natural experiment involving more than 7,000 American women to understand how a woman’s propensity to perform an annual mammography changes over time after a co-worker is diagnosed with breast cancer. We find that in the year this event occurs the probability that a woman performs a mammography drops by about 8 percentage points, off a base level of about 70%. This impact effect is persistent during at least the following 2 years, is driven by cases of breast cancer diagnosed at non-early stages, and by the behavior of individuals who are less knowledgeable about health issues. This negative effect is confirmed when we allow for serial correlation in screening behavior and when we estimate the effect of the treatment on the hazard of not screening, at the daily frequency. However, the effect vanishes in placebo experiments.

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Paper provided by Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna in its series Working Papers with number wp938.

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Date of creation: Apr 2014
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Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:wp938
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  1. Bradley, Cathy J. & Neumark, David & Bednarek, Heather L. & Schenk, Maryjean, 2005. "Short-term effects of breast cancer on labor market attachment: results from a longitudinal study," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 137-160, January.
  2. Angrist, Joshua D., 2014. "The perils of peer effects," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 98-108.
  3. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good for Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650.
  4. Jens Ludwig & Jeffrey R. Kling & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2011. "Mechanism Experiments and Policy Evaluations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 17-38, Summer.
  5. 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.
  6. Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Inference by Believers in the Law of Small Numbers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 775-816.
  7. Caplin, Andrew & Eliaz, Kfir, 2003. " AIDS Policy and Psychology: A Mechanism-Design Approach," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(4), pages 631-46, Winter.
  8. Emmanuel Saez & Esther Duflo, 2003. "The role of information and social interactions in retirement plan decisions: Evidence from a randomized experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00141, The Field Experiments Website.
  9. G. Zanella & R. Banerjee, 2014. "Experiencing breast cancer at the workplace," Working Papers wp938, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  10. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "The Role of Information and Social Interactions in Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 815-842.
  11. Emily Oster & Ira Shoulson & E. Ray Dorsey, 2013. "Optimal Expectations and Limited Medical Testing: Evidence from Huntington Disease," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(2), pages 804-30, April.
  12. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 531-542.
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