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Active Choice, Implicit Defaults, and the Incentive to Choose

John Beshears, James J. Choi, David Laibson, Brigitte C. Madrian

NBER Working Paper No. 25473
Issued in January 2019, Revised in February 2019
NBER Program(s):Program on the Economics of Aging, Health Care Program, Public Economics Program

Home-delivered prescriptions have no delivery charge and lower copayments than prescriptions picked up at a pharmacy. Nevertheless, when home delivery is offered on an opt-in basis, the take-up rate is only 6%. We study a program that makes active choice of either home delivery or pharmacy pick-up a requirement for insurance eligibility. The program introduces an implicit default for those who don’t make an active choice: pharmacy pick-up without insurance subsidies. Under this program, 42% of eligible employees actively choose home delivery, 39% actively choose pharmacy pick-up, and 19% make no active choice and are assigned the implicit default. Individuals who financially benefit most from home delivery are more likely to choose it. Those who benefit least from insurance subsidies are more likely to make no active choice and lose those subsidies. The implicit default incentivizes people to make an active choice, thereby playing a key role in choice architecture.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w25473

Published: John Beshears & James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2019. "Active choice, implicit defaults, and the incentive to choose," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, .

 
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