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Non-Life-Threatening Ailments and Rational Patience

Authors Kristian Bolin
Michael R. Caputo
Publisher University of Gothenburg
Place of publication Gothenburg
Publication year 2019
Published at Centre for Health Economics
Department of Economics
Language en
Keywords Health Behavior, Optimal Timing, Medical Decisions
Subject categories Economics


The time at which a rational patient might choose an elective medical procedure for a non-life-threatening ailment is contemplated. The resulting model is purposely uncomplicated but general, and accounts for several basic factors that might affect such a decision. One such factor is that a patient cannot know with certainty the degree to which the medical procedure will be successful. Even so, patients have information about the expected outcome of the procedure and its risk, and about how the expected outcome and risk are affected by medical technological progress and surgeon experience. The effect of changes in exogenous variables on the timing of the medical procedure and on patient welfare are investigated. It is shown that risk averse and prudent patients behave in an unambiguous manner in response to changes in all of the exogenous variables.

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