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Information, Switching Costs, and Consumer Choice: Evidence from Two Randomized Field Experiments in Swedish Primary Health Care

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Consumer choice of services that are financed by a third party may improve the matching of consumers and providers, and spur competition over quality dimensions relevant to consumers. However, in markets characterized by information frictions and switching costs, the gains from choice may fail to materialize. We use two large-scale randomized field experiments in primary health care to examine if leaflets with comparative information and pre-paid choice forms sent to consumers by postal mail affect choices. The results demonstrate that there are demand side frictions in the primary care market and indicate how these frictions can be mitigated.

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  • Anell, Anders & Dietrichson, Jens & Ellegård, Lina Maria & Kjellsson, Gustav, 2017. "Information, Switching Costs, and Consumer Choice: Evidence from Two Randomized Field Experiments in Swedish Primary Health Care," Working Papers 2017:7, Lund University, Department of Economics, revised 27 Jun 2018.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2017_007
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    1. Anell, Anders & Dackehag, Margareta & Dietrichson, Jens & Ellegård, Lina Maria & Kjellsson, Gustav, 2022. "Better Off by Risk Adjustment? Socioeconomic Disparities in Care Utilization in Sweden Following a Payment Reform," Working Papers 2022:15, Lund University, Department of Economics, revised 12 Mar 2024.
    2. Jens Dietrichson & Lina Maria Ellegård & Gustav Kjellsson, 2020. "Patient choice, entry, and the quality of primary care: Evidence from Swedish reforms," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(6), pages 716-730, June.
    3. Godager , Geir & Scott, Anthony, 2023. "Physician Behavior and Health Outcomes," HERO Online Working Paper Series 2023:3, University of Oslo, Health Economics Research Programme.
    4. Dahlgren, Cecilia & Dackehag, Margareta & Wändell, Per & Rehnberg, Clas, 2021. "Simply the best? The impact of quality on choice of primary healthcare provider in Sweden," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 125(11), pages 1448-1454.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Consumer choice; Information; Switching costs; Primary health care; Field experiments;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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