Other Unpublished Work | 2014

Nudging Physicians to Pursue Careers in Underserved Areas: A Case for Behavioral Economics

by Joseph Lopez, Mona Singh, Nava Ashraf and Joel Weissman

Abstract

Currently, more than 60 million Americans live in "Health Professional Shortage Areas." Unless policymakers can encourage more physicians to practice in medically under-resourced areas, an increased number of uninsured individuals newly able to obtain health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act may contribute to even greater physician access problems in these communities. Behavioral economics is a discipline that recognizes the limits of rational decision-making based on the principle that human behavior is influenced by cognitive biases and the social/emotional context in which decisions are made. Behavioral economics-based policy approaches that aim to change the context in which physicians make practice decisions have received little attention thus far. In this paper, we propose a behavioral economics-based policy framework for carefully designing program and policy options to nudge physicians toward practice in medically underserved, under-resourced areas in the U.S.

Keywords: Access to care; health economics; health reform; minority health; disparities; Health Care and Treatment; Health Industry;

Citation:

Lopez, Joseph, Mona Singh, Nava Ashraf, and Joel Weissman. "Nudging Physicians to Pursue Careers in Underserved Areas: A Case for Behavioral Economics." (Working Paper, February 2014. Under review.)