NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Judd Kessler

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Working Papers

March 2013The Articulation Effect of Government Policy: Health Insurance Mandates Versus Taxes
with Keith Marzilli Ericson, Judd B. Kessler: w18913
We examine how the articulation of government policy affects behavior. Our experiment compares a government mandate to purchase health insurance to a financially equivalent tax on the uninsured. Participants report their probability of purchasing health insurance under one of the two articulations of the policy. The experiment was conducted in four waves, from December 2011 to November 2012. We document the controversy over the Affordable Care Act’s insurance mandate provision that changed the political discourse during the year. Pre-controversy, articulating the policy as a mandate, rather than a financially equivalent tax, increased probability of insurance purchase by 10.6 percentage points — an effect comparable to a $1000 decrease in annual premiums. After the controversy, the mandate...
August 2011Organ Allocation Policy and the Decision to Donate
with Judd B. Kessler, Alvin E. Roth: w17324
Organ donations from deceased donors provide the majority of transplanted organs in the United States, and one deceased donor can save numerous lives by providing multiple organs. Nevertheless, most Americans are not registered organ donors despite the relative ease of becoming one. We study in the laboratory an experimental game modeled on the decision to register as an organ donor, and investigate how changes in the management of organ waiting lists might impact donations. We find that an organ allocation policy giving priority on waiting lists to those who previously registered as donors has a significant positive impact on registration.

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