The government recently announced the devolution of health spending to the Greater Manchester region. But is the decentralisation of health services desirable? Joan Costa-Font examines this question, finding that it is possible to improve regional healthcare equity without a significant additional cost to the public purse. However, there needs to be political accountability for decentralisation mechanisms to work, which in the Manchester […]
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The ‘nudge’ agenda is at the forefront of contemporary economic debate for good reason, but it is not yet clear that it can be applied in straightforward way in all circumstances
Behavioural economists from LSE and elsewhere have recently examined the ‘nudge’ research agenda and its limits in a special journal issue. Here, Joan Costa-Font, David Just, Barbara Fasolo and Nick Powdthavee, argue that, although appealing and policy relevant, more research is required. Behavioural economics has passed the stage of having to convince other economists of its value. Today, it is a […]
Given that obesity produces significant social costs, public health authorities need to be far more pro-active in designing interventions
There is an escalating obesity problem in the UK. Joan Costa-Font argues that obesity is an example of market failure and that policy should focus on changing social rewards to unhealthy food consumption and tackling the prevailing social norms with regards to sedentary behavior at home and the workplace. Obesity in Europe has reached epidemic proportions. The prevalence of overweight […]
Joan Costa-Font, Mireia Jofre-Bonet and Steven T Yen present research into incentivising blood donation. Classic research has found that monetary incentives to blood donors may crowd out blood supply as purely altruistic donors may feel less inclined to donate if a reward is involved. However it is argued that there would be no supply displacement of altruistic donors if non-monetary rewards were […]
The centralisation of education funding and the new health reforms are inconsistent with localism and accountable government
The coalition government’s battery of new localism reforms are thought to be aligned with a preference for decentralisation amongst the general public. But as Joan Costa Font argues, arrangements for health and education funding point towards greater centralisation and less local accountability. A recent Eurobarometer survey (2010) suggests that a large majority of people in Europe believe that intermediate or regional levels of […]
Joan Costa-Font and Mireia Jofre-Bonet argue that distorted perceptions of self-image influence health-related behaviours. Through their empirical research, they find that social pressure is a determinant of eating disorders and policy should compensate against damaging peer-effects and counter the spread of this epidemic. Policy interventions to curb the parallel epidemics of excessive preoccupation with self-image and food disorders, such as […]
A better understanding of the behavioural constraints that people face will help policy makers to more effectively target public policy interventions that aim to change their actions.
Government interventions often have very different outcomes to those desired by policy makers. Joan Costa Font argues that the development of behavioural economics offers a means to more thoroughly examine the behavioural constraints faced by those who are targeted by specific policies. Behavioural economics is not only better equipped to account for failures but if applied to public policy, it […]
Does devolution bring welfare improvements? Evidence from Spain shows that giving Scotland and Wales the power to set speed limits might save lives across the UK
Does devolution bring welfare improvements? Joan Costa Font argues that evidence from the devolution of traffic responsibilities to the Basque Country and Catalonia by the Spanish government, suggests that decentralisation has managed to significantly reduce traffic accident deaths. Such a change in the UK, where lower speed limits and safety regulations have not yet garnered a great deal of support, […]
A move to presumed consent would increase the number of organ donors and their willingness to donate
According to NHS Blood and Transplant, there are over 10,000 people in the UK that are in need of an organ transplant, with many often waiting for years for an organ to become available. Looking at organ donation rates across 22 countries, Joan Costa Font and Caroline Rudisill have found that those countries that have ‘opt-out’ legislation have higher rates […]
We can prevent the ‘crowding out’ of long term care insurance by family financing if government offers a level of provision that can then be topped up
Families face several solutions to provide for the costs of long term care for elderly family members, should the need arise: public or private insurance, savings or family financing. Joan Costa Font argues that the prevalence of this family financing in the UK and the EU is likely to ‘crowd out’ other types of insurance, and that the government can […]