University of Pennsylvania

To facilitate research on household decision-making by systematically documenting data, including choice architecture information, about state Health Insurance Exchanges

  • Amount $281,029
  • City Philadelphia, PA
  • Investigator Thomas Baker
  • Initiative Behavioral Economics and Household Finance (BEHF)
  • Year 2012
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance

The Affordable Care Act presents a special opportunity to research how different choice architectures affect consumer choice in a comprehensive manner. At least 15 states plan to design their own exchanges, which are expected to vary significantly. Even exchanges that adopt the federal template will operate with different participating insurers, plans offered, and price controls or other state regulations. Thousands of individuals will purchase plans off the exchanges, opting for one of a set of plans offered. Funds from this grant support a project by Tom Baker at the University of Pennsylvania to ensure that comprehensive data on all these exchanges will be documented and made easily available to researchers. In cooperation with regulators and other officials, Baker and his team will collect and compile details on each exchange's choice architecture, product menu, relevant regulations, and much more. Such data should be useful for behavioral economics and beyond, including studies of adverse selection, market design, and price distortions. Additional funds will support a preliminary workshop for a broad spectrum of fellow researchers to discuss suggestions and build consensus about data collection specifics.

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