How experience affects our preferences for the health service we receive

Shoshana Neuman, Einat Neuman, Tue, 12/18/2007



The standard assumption in economic theory is that our preferences do not change as a result of experience. The reality, however, may be somewhat different. The authors of CEPR DP6608 examine whether and how preferences for the service they receive differ for women having their first child compared to those with experience of childbirth.

Using interviews with a large sample of women who gave birth in Israeli public hospitals, the authors find that (i) experience does matter, with first time mothers-to-be more concerned about getting a private room than the transfer of information from staff to patients, and vice versa for women with experience; (ii) the amount of experience does not matter, e.g. women having their fourth child have the same preference as those having their second child; and (iii) socio-economic backgrounds play a role, with less-educated women with a lower household income being affected more by experience than their highly-educated and high-income counterparts.

It is up to hospital policy-makers to consider how these results should shape their treatment policies, and whose preferences should be accommodated.

DP6608 Explorations of the Effect of Experience on Preferences for a Health-Care Service

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Topics:  Labour markets

Tags:  preferences, experience, Discrete Choice Experiment, delivery, health-care



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