Doc Talk #152 – Behavioural Economics and Health

By some estimates 45% of cancer deaths are preventable and perhaps 80% of heart disease is preventable. Despite extraordinary advancements in modern medical science, there is no pharmacological treatment available which could have this level of impact.

It’s popular to complain that people don’t want to put any work in for their health and that these days we just want a quick fix in the form of a pill or other technological innovation, but in this show we argue that maybe this is just the way we are built, rather than a feature of modern society.

Learn about what a slightly cruddy coffee mug might tell us about our attitudes to health, via the endowment effect, loss aversion and temporal discounting.