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Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Applying behavioural economics to health systems of low- and middle-income countries: what are policymakers' and practitioners' views?

TitleApplying behavioural economics to health systems of low- and middle-income countries: what are policymakers' and practitioners' views?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsTrujillo, AJ, Glassman, A, Fleisher, LK, Nair, D, Duran, D
JournalHealth Policy Plan
Volume30
Pagination747-58
Date PublishedJul
ISBN Number1460-2237 (Electronic)0268-1080 (Linking)
Accession Number24972828
KeywordsBehaviour change, Developing Countries, economics, health behaviour, health care seeking behaviour, Health Policy, health systems research
Abstract

Interest in behavioural economics has soared in recent years, particularly because of its application to several areas of public policy, now including international development, education, and health. Yet, little is known about how the policy and political implications of behavioural economics are perceived among stakeholders. Using an innovative vignette-based online survey, we assessed the opinions of 520 policymakers and practitioners around the world about health policy recommendations emanating from behavioural economics principles that are relevant to low- and middle-income country settings. We also determined the sources of disagreement among the respondents. The results suggest that there is strong support for health policies based on the concepts of framing choices to overcome present bias, providing periodic information to form habits, and messaging to promote social norms. There is less support for policies which use cash rewards as extrinsic motivators either to change individual behaviour related to the management of chronic conditions or to mitigate risky sexual behaviour. The sources of disagreement for these policy prescriptions derive mainly from normative concerns and perceived lack of effectiveness of such interventions. Addressing these disagreements may require developing a broader research agenda to explore the policy and political implications of these prescriptions.