Senior Research Seminar: Pietro Biroli (University of Zürich)

Title: "Moral Hazard Heterogeneity: Genes and Insurance Influence Smoking after a Health Shock" (with L. Zwyssig)

  • Data: 15 gennaio 2021 dalle 12:00 alle 13:15

  • Luogo: Microsoft Teams

Abstract

Decision making in the realm of health behaviors, such as smoking or drinking, is influenced both by biological factors, such as genetic predispositions, as well as environmental factors, such as financial liquidity and health insurance status. We show how the choice of smoking after a cardio-vascular health shock is jointly determined by the interaction between these biological and environmental constraints. Individuals who suffer a health shock when uninsured are 33 percentage points more likely to reduce smoking, but this is true only for those who have a low index of genetic predisposition to smoking. Individuals with a low index of genetic predisposition are more strategic and flexible in their behavioral response to an external shock. This differential elasticity of response depending on your genetic variants is evidence of individual-level heterogeneity in moral hazard. These results suggest that genetic heterogeneity is a factor that should be considered when evaluating the importance and fairness of health insurance policies.

Local Organizer: Massimiliano Onorato; Alessandro Sforza

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