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Do people have a preference for increasing or decreasing pain? An experimental comparison of psychological and economic measures in health related decision making

Author

Listed:
  • Eike Kroll

    () (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)

  • Judith Trarbach

    () (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)

  • Bodo Vogt

    () (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)

Abstract

This paper investigates preferences for different health profiles, especially sequences of increasing and decreasing pain. We test conflicting predictions in terms of preferences over two painful sequences. The QALY concept relevant for the determination of different levels of health-related quality of life implies indifference, whereas behavioral theories find preferences related to ordering, following the peak-end-rule. Using an experimental design with real consequences we generate decisions about painful sequences induced by the cold pressor test. The results are compared with hypothetical choice data elicited using standard methods. We find that hypothetical methods reveal decisions in line with the peak-end-rule. However when it comes to real consequences of their decisions, subjects are on average not willing to pay for that preference.

Suggested Citation

  • Eike Kroll & Judith Trarbach & Bodo Vogt, 2012. "Do people have a preference for increasing or decreasing pain? An experimental comparison of psychological and economic measures in health related decision making," FEMM Working Papers 120012, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:mag:wpaper:120012
    as

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    File URL: http://www.fww.ovgu.de/fww_media/femm/femm_2012/2012_12.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2011
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Daniel Kahneman & Peter P. Wakker & Rakesh Sarin, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-406.
    2. Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
    3. Loewenstein, George F & Sicherman, Nachum, 1991. "Do Workers Prefer Increasing Wage Profiles?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 67-84, January.
    4. Richard H. Thaler & Eric J. Johnson, 1990. "Gambling with the House Money and Trying to Break Even: The Effects of Prior Outcomes on Risky Choice," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(6), pages 643-660, June.
    5. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
    6. James Murphy & P. Allen & Thomas Stevens & Darryl Weatherhead, 2005. "A Meta-analysis of Hypothetical Bias in Stated Preference Valuation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 30(3), pages 313-325, March.
    7. Wilcox, Nathaniel T, 1993. "Lottery Choice: Incentives, Complexity and Decision Time," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(421), pages 1397-1417, November.
    8. Lowenstein, George & Prelec, Drazen, 1991. "Negative Time Preference," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 347-352, May.
    9. Blumenschein, Karen & Johannesson, Magnus & Yokoyama, Krista K. & Freeman, Patricia R., 2001. "Hypothetical versus real willingness to pay in the health care sector: results from a field experiment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 441-457, May.
    10. Paul A. Samuelson, 1937. "A Note on Measurement of Utility," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(2), pages 155-161.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Weekly Roundup 181: A Curated Linkfest For The Smartest People On The Web!
      by Miguel in Simoleon Sense on 2012-07-29 21:45:36
    2. How do you want your pain?
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-08-02 18:23:00

    More about this item

    Keywords

    pain; peak-end-rule; willingness-to-pay;

    JEL classification:

    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments

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