“Social Learning and Health Plan Choice.”

Stanford University, USA.
The RAND Journal of Economics (Impact Factor: 1.49). 02/2006; 37(4):1-29. DOI: 10.1111/j.1756-2171.2006.tb00064.x
Source: PubMed


I use data from the University of California to empirically examine the role of social learning in employees' choices of health plans. The basic empirical strategy starts with the observation that if social learning is important, health plan selections should appear to be correlated across employees within the same department. Estimates of discrete choice models in which individuals' perceived payoffs are influenced by coworkers' decisions reveal a significant (but not dominant) social effect. The strength of the effect depends on factors such as the department's size or the employee's demographic distance from her coworkers. The estimated effects are present even when the model allows for unobserved, department-specific heterogeneity in employee preferences, so the results cannot be explained away by unobservable characteristics that are common to employees of the same department.

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    • "Based on the conjecture that individuals may be more likely to interact with co-villagers who share common observable characteristics, we should observe stronger social effects within subgroups than across subgroups in the village (Duflo and Saez, 2002; Sorensen, 2006). If individuals' enrollment decisions are influenced by their observations of others' behavior , there may be opinion leaders in rural villages who appear to have expertise and the ability to make informed NCMS enrollment decisions (Bikhchandani et al., 1998). "
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    ABSTRACT: This paper examines the role of social learning in household enrollment decisions for the New Cooperative Medical Scheme (NCMS) in rural China by estimating a static game with incomplete information. Using a rich dataset from the China Health and Nutrition Survey, we find that a 10-percentage-point increase in the enrollment rate in a village increases one's take-up probability by 5 percentage points. Using multiple model specifications, we show that the estimated social effects are not driven by simultaneity or common unobserved factors but are consistent with the hypothesis of social learning. We also find that the importance of social effects decreases significantly with households’ familiarity with the NCMS as well as with the development of alternative information channels, which further ascertains that the primary mechanism for the social effects is social learning. The evidence suggests that healthier, wealthier, relatively well-educated, older Han male household heads tend to be opinion leaders.
    Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 01/2014; 97:84-102. DOI:10.1016/j.jebo.2013.10.012 · 1.01 Impact Factor
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    • "Epstein and Nicholson (2009) …nd that an increase in the overall c-section rate of a physician's local peer group leads to an increase in his or her own rate. 3 Social learning has been studied widely in a variety of contexts including , but not limited to , employer - sponsored health plan choices ( Sorensen , 2006 ) , retirement plan choices ( Du ‡o and Saez , 2003 ) , welfare program participation ( Bertrand , Luttmer , and Mullainathan , 2000 ) , health care utilization in Milan ( Dev - illanova , 2008 ) , consumption of movies ( Moretti , 2011 ) , and other examples , such as crime and labor market outcomes, which are cited in those studies . his or her peers . "
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    ABSTRACT: We investigate whether and how physicians’prescriptions of a new drug are influenced by their colleagues in the same hospital during shared working time. We use longitudinal data of physicians who prescribed antipsychotic drugs for schizophrenia patients in Taiwan between 1997 and 2010. We find that peer effects are small, but stronger among physicians of similar age and among those sharing a longer, larger or more stable group. Peer effects are also stronger when drugs are newly introduced. We also …find that peer effects are more likely to be over-estimated using …fixed-effect models than using fi…rst-difference models.
    Economic Inquiry 06/2013; DOI:10.1111/ecin.12022 · 0.98 Impact Factor
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    • "Also, Iyengar et al. (2009), who observed the influence of friends in the purchase of online music, and Moore et al. (2002), who showed strong and persistent intergenerational impacts on brand use, are relevant examples of studies showing that individuals adopt behaviour from others, in this case through their social networks, referred to as 'contagion'. Examples of the influence that social groups have on individual lifestyle are prolific in the health sector Sørensen (2006) shows that there is a significant peer group effect in the health plan selection of employees of the same department. Furthermore , numerous studies have dealt with social learning and technology adoption inspired by the theory of diffusion of "
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    ABSTRACT: Although social influence on consumers’ behaviour has been recognized and documented, the vast majority of empirical consumer studies about sustainable products considers mainly, if not only, individual characteristics (socio‐demographic attributes, individual environmental attitudes, etc.), to explain the decision to buy sustainable products. Making use of experimental methods, this paper studies the social influence that peer groups like colleagues, family and friends may exert in the decision to choose for environmentally friendly products rather than conventional ones. We also test for different types of social influence, in particular for ‘herd behaviour’ vs. ‘social learning’. In our experimental setting, the relevance of peer effects is corroborated. We find clear evidence for ‘herd behaviour’ and the data indirectly support the presence of ‘social learning’ effects. The results also suggest heterogeneous impact of specific social groups.
    International IJC 03/2013; 37(2). DOI:10.1111/j.1470-6431.2012.01110.x · 0.66 Impact Factor
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