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Demonstration effects in preventive care

  • Ritesh Banerjee
  • Ethan Cohen-Cole
  • Giulio Zanella

Using a unique dataset composed of female employees at a large medical organization, this paper explores the role of social interactions among female co-workers and neighbors in the decision to obtain breast cancer screening exams. In our theoretical framework, the experience of other women is salient because it alters the tolerance for ambiguity about their own vulnerability, via a comparative ignorance effect. We find that the social multiplier ranges from 2 to 3: the equilibrium effect of an exogenous shock that impacts the probability of performing a mammogram is two to three times the shock itself. We perform a number of checks: among other things, these reveal (in agreement with the model and our intuition) that such a social effect is stronger for women whose job (according to the O*NET dictionary of occupations) offers more opportunities for social interaction, and weaker for individuals directly involved in health care, such as doctors and nurses.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its series Risk and Policy Analysis Unit Working Paper with number QAU07-7.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbqu:qau07-7
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  1. Burke & Heiland, 2007. "Social Dynamics Of Obesity," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(3), pages 571-591, 07.
  2. Epstein, Larry G & Wang, Tan, 1994. "Intertemporal Asset Pricing Under Knightian Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 283-322, March.
  3. Brock,W.A. & Durlauf,S.N., 2000. "Discrete choice with social interactions," Working papers 7, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  4. repec:att:wimass:9127 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Manski, Charles F, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 531-42, July.
  6. Muurinen, Jaana-Marja, 1982. "Demand for health: A generalised Grossman model," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 5-28, May.
  7. Deri, Catherine, 2005. "Social networks and health service utilization," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 1076-1107, November.
  8. Acton, Jan Paul, 1975. "Nonmonetary Factors in the Demand for Medical Services: Some Empirical Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(3), pages 595-614, June.
  9. Bloom, Joan R. & Spiegel, David, 1984. "The relationship of two dimensions of social support to the psychological well-being and social functioning of women with advanced breast cancer," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 19(8), pages 831-837, January.
  10. William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf, 2000. "Interactions-Based Models," Working Papers 00-05-028, Santa Fe Institute.
  11. Lairson, David R. & Chan, Wenyaw & Newmark, Georgina R., 2005. "Determinants of the demand for breast cancer screening among women veterans in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(7), pages 1608-1617, October.
  12. Fox, Craig R & Tversky, Amos, 1995. "Ambiguity Aversion and Comparative Ignorance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 585-603, August.
  13. Anna Aizer & Janet Currie, 2002. "Networks or Neighborhoods? Correlations in the Use of Publicly-Funded Maternity Care in California," NBER Working Papers 9209, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Grossman, Michael, 2000. "The human capital model," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 347-408 Elsevier.
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