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Essays on antibiotics use: Nudges, preferences & welfare benefits
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The stock of effective antibiotics can be seen as a common resource. Depletion of this potentially renewable, but currently finite, resource through the development of resistance poses an important policy problem. Prudent use can delay the spread of resistance. It is hence interesting to study factors that affect use and overuse of antibiotics. This thesis consists of three empirical papers on antibiotics use, summarized as follows.

The effect of reminders on the demand and supply of antibiotics prescriptions

In this paper I use a randomized controlled trial to test the effect on antibiotics use of reminders to outpatients. With reminders antibiotics use fell by 12.6 percent relative to control clinics. The effect is at clinic level, suggesting that doctors or doctor–patient interaction, not individual patients, are affected. Results from a follow-up further indicate that doctor–patient interaction is important.

Altruism, time preferences, and common resource conservation: A field study on preferences and antibiotics use

Individuals’ preferences may be of importance for the possibility to overcome social dilemmas, such as common resource conservation. In this study the role of other-regarding preferences and time preferences in the use of antibiotics is examined. The results indicate that altruism, as measured by willingness to give to a charity, is associated with less antibiotics use. Time preferences do not appear to play a role.

The effect of temporary parental benefit on children’s antibiotics use: Evidence from a natural experiment

Paired with widespread overconfidence in the effectiveness of antibiotics, social security benefits may affect the propensity of a patient or parent to push for a prescription. Using municipality level data, we show that a more generous compensation for the temporary parental benefit in Sweden resulted in a reduction in children’s antibiotics use by about five percent. This suggests welfare policies can have important indirect effects.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Economics, Stockholm University , 2014. , 134 p.
Dissertations in Economics, ISSN 1404-3491 ; 2014:1
Keyword [en]
field experiment, nudge, reminder, common resources, antibiotics use, resistance, altruism, other-regarding preferences, time preferences, social security, temporary parental leave, natural experiment
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-103208ISBN: 978-91-7447-926-3OAI: diva2:716299
Public defence
2014-09-04, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2014-06-11 Created: 2014-05-08 Last updated: 2014-05-23Bibliographically approved

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