The Petrie-Flom Center has released the description and call for abstracts for its 2014 Annual Conference: “Behavioral Economics, Law, and Health Policy.” The conference will be held at Harvard Law School on May 2 and 3, 2014, and seeks to address the following questions:
- Are there features unique to health and health care that prevent individuals, groups, and policymakers from making the best decisions? What is a “best” decision, i.e., whose perspective should be paramount?
- What types of barriers exist to rational decision making in the health care context, and what does rational decision making look like here?
- Is exploitation of framing effects, default rules, nudges, and other elements of choice architecture appropriate when it comes to human health, or is this an area where pure autonomy should reign – or perhaps strong paternalism is needed? Is health policy special?
- What should policymakers do when there is conflict between outcomes that might be good for individuals but not society more generally, and vice versa? Where should the nudges push?
- Which areas of health law, bioethics, and biotechnology policy are most amenable or resistant to manipulation of choice architecture? When nudges are not plausible, what is the best way to overcome bounded rationality?
- When might behavioral economics lead to the wrong results for health law, bioethics, and biotechnology policy?
- How can manipulations of choice architecture be best evaluated empirically, and what ethical concerns might such research raise?
- What are the most interesting or compelling health law, bioethics, and biotechnology policy nudges we should be thinking about today in the realms of obesity, organ donation, end-of-life care, biospecimen ownership and research, human subjects research, HIV testing, vaccination, health insurance, and other areas?
Please note that this list is not meant to be at all exhaustive; we hope to receive papers related to the conference’s general theme but not specifically listed here.
Abstracts are due by December 2, 2013.
For a full conference description, including the call for abstracts and registration information, please visit our website.