Risk attitudes in medical decisions for others: an experimental approach

Alejandro Arrieta, Ariadna Garcia Prado, Paula Gonzalez, Jose Luis Pinto Prades

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
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ABSTRACT. The aim of this paper is to investigate how risk attitudes in medical decisions for others vary across health contexts. A lab experiment was designed to elicit the risk attitudes of 257 medical and nonmedical students by assigning them the role of a physician who must decide between treatments for patients. An interval regression model was used to estimate individual coefficients of relative risk aversion, and an estimation model was used to test for the effect of type of medical decision and experimental design characteristics on elicited risk aversion. We find that (a) risk attitudes vary across different health contexts, but risk aversion prevails in all of them; (b) students enrolled in health-related degrees show a higher degree of risk aversion; and (c) real rewards for third parties (patients) make subjects less risk-averse. The results underline the importance of accounting for attitudes towards risk in medical decision making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97–113
Number of pages17
JournalHealth Economics
Issue numberS3
Early online date29 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • risk attitudes
  • medical decisions
  • risk aversion
  • health contexts
  • multiple price list format
  • medical decisions for others
  • laboratory experiment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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