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Flu Shots, Mammograms, and the Perception of Probabilities

  • Carman, Katherine Grace

    ()

    (Tilburg University)

  • Kooreman, Peter

    ()

    (Tilburg University)

We study individuals' decisions to decline or accept preventive health care interventions such as flu shots and mammograms. In particular, we analyze the role of perceptions of the effectiveness of the intervention, by eliciting individuals' subjective probabilities of sickness and survival, with and without the interventions. Respondents appear to be aware of some of the qualitative relationships between risk factors and probabilities. However, on average they have very poor perceptions of the absolute probability levels as reported in the epidemiological literature. Perceptions are less accurate if a respondent is female and has no college degree. Perceived probabilities significantly affect the subsequent take-up rate of flu shots and mammograms.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5739.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: May 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as 'Probability Perceptions and Preventive Health Care' in: Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 2014, 49(1), 43-71
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5739
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  1. Adeline Delavande, 2008. "Pill, Patch, Or Shot? Subjective Expectations And Birth Control Choice," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(3), pages 999-1042, 08.
  2. Khwaja, Ahmed & Silverman, Dan & Sloan, Frank & Wang, Yang, 2009. "Are mature smokers misinformed?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 385-397, March.
  3. Kenkel, D., 1988. "The Demand For Preventive Medical Care," Papers 3-88-4, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  4. Hey, John D. & Patel, Mahesh S., 1983. "Prevention and cure? : Or: Is an ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 119-138, August.
  5. Rochelle Belkar & Denzil G. Fiebig & Marion Haas & Rosalie Viney, 2006. "Why worry about awareness in choice problems? Econometric analysis of screening for cervical cancer," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(1), pages 33-47.
  6. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 1994. "Using Expectations Data to Study Subjective Income Expectations," NBER Working Papers 4937, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. John Mullahy, 1998. "It'll Only Hurt a Second? Microeconomic Determinants of Who Gets Flu Shots," NBER Working Papers 6500, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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