May 2 - May 3, 2014
Wasserstein Hall, Milstein East ABC
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA

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Conference Description

Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein's book Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness brought behavioral economics to the masses, beginning a discussion of libertarian paternalism and the many ways that "choice architects" can help nudge people to make better choices for themselves without forcing certain outcomes on anyone. Some of their examples fall in the realm of health policy, as is also the case of Daniel Kahneman's recent book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, which examines various cognitive errors people make in their judgments, choices, and conclusions, as well as how we might correct them.  But the conversation has only just begun. 

Building on the success of the behavioral economics movement, this conference will further develop the scholarly discussion by focusing on key issues in health law policy, bioethics, and biotechnology by addressing both broad conceptual questions and more specific policy applications.  

How to Register

Attendance is free and open to the public, but space is limited and registration is required. Register here.

Conference Schedule

Note: All keynote, plenary, and panel sessions will include time for Q & A.

Friday, May 2, 2014

8:30 - 9:00am: Registration & Breakfast

9:00 - 9:15am: Welcome

9:15 - 10:15am: Keynote

  • Cass Sunstein, Robert Walmsley University Professor, Harvard Law School - Choosing Not to Choose

10:15 - 10:30am: Break

10:30 - 11:50am: Panel 1, The Ethics of Nudges in Health Care

  • Yashar Saghai, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Director of Global Food Ethics Project, John Hopkins University - On the Ethics of Implementing Health Nudge Policies When Confidence in Their Effectiveness is Low

  • Jennifer Blumenthal-Barby, Assistant Professor, Baylor College of Medicine Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Greenwall Faculty Scholars Program (with Zainab Shipchandler and Julika Kaplan, Rice University) - Incentives as “Nudges” for Childhood Vaccination in Rural India

  • Nir Eyal, Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School - When is nudging just fine, and why?

  • Jonathan Gingerich, Ph.D. student, Department of Philosophy, UCLA - The Political Morality of Nudges

  • Moderator: Holly Fernandez Lynch, Executive Director, Petrie-Flom Center

11:50am - 12:15pm: Break to Pick Up Lunch

12:15 - 12:45pm: Lunchtime Plenary

  • Alan M. Garber, Provost, Harvard University; Mallinckrodt Professor of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School; Professor of Economics, Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School of Government; and Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health - Can Behavioral Economics Save Healthcare Reform?

12:45 - 1:45pm: Panel 2, Potential Problems and Limits of Nudges in Health Care

  • Thomas Ulen, Director of the Program in Law and Economics, University of Illinois College of Law (with David Hyman) - Nudges, Shoves, Pure Paternalism, or Leave Well Enough Alone? Applying Behavioral Economics to Health Law and Policy

  • Mark D. White, Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy, College of Staten Island, CUNY - Bad Medicine: The Problems with Nudges in Health Care

  • Andrea Freeman, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Hawaii at Manoa William S. Richardson School of Law - Behavioral Economics and Food Policy: The Limits of Nudging

  • Moderator: I. Glenn Cohen, Faculty Co-Director, Petrie-Flom Center

1:45 - 2:00pm: Break

​2:00 - 3:45pm: Panel 3, Behavioral Economics and Healthcare Costs

  • Christopher T. Robertson, Visiting Professor of Law, Harvard Law School and Associate Professor, James E. Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona (with David Yokum) - Cost-Sharing as Choice Architecture

  • Brigitte Madrian, Aetna Professor of Public Policy and Corporate Management, Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, Harvard Kennedy School of Government - Active Choice and Health Care Costs: Evidence from Prescription Drug Home Delivery

  • Ameet Sarpatwari, Research Fellow, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School (with Niteesh K. Choudhry, Jerry Avorn, and Aaron S. Kesselheim) - Behavioral Economics and Physician Prescribing Practices: Legal and Ethical Considerations in the Use of “Nudges” to Promote Generic Drug Use

  • Anupam Jena, Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School; Assistant Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital (with Jie Huang, Bruce Fireman, Vicki Fung, Scott Gazelle, Mary Beth Landrum, Michael Chernew, Joseph P. Newhouse, and John Hsu) - Asymmetric Responses to Increases and Decreases in Cost-Sharing for Breast Cancer Screening

  • Jim Hawkins, Associate Professor, University of Houston Law Center - Towards Behaviorally Informed Policies for Consumer Credit Decisions in Self-Pay Medical Markets

  • Moderator: Matthew J. B. Lawrence, Academic Fellow, Petrie-Flom Center

​3:45 - 4:00pm: Break

4:00 - 4:45pm: Panel 4, Crowding Out

  • Aditi Sen, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Health Care Management & Economics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (with David Huffman, George Lowenstein, David Asch, and Kevin Volpp) - Do Financial Incentives Reduce Intrinsic Motivation for Weight Loss? Evidence from Two Tests of Crowding Out

  • Kristen Underhill, Associate Research Scholar in Law, Yale Law School - Crowd Control: Extrinsic Incentives, Intrinsic Motivation, and Motivational Crowding Out in Health Law and Policy

  • Moderator: Neel T. Shah, Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians (HMFP) practice; Division of Quality, Safety, and Performance Improvement in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC); Ariadne Labs for Health Systems Innovation, Harvard School of Public Health

Saturday, May 3, 2014

8:30 - 9:00am: Registration & Breakfast

9:00 - 9:30am: Plenary

  • Russell Korobkin, Richard C. Maxwell Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law - The Choice Architecture Problem and Health Care Decisions

9:30 - 10:30am: Panel 5, Behavioral Economics and the Doctor-Patient Relationship

  • Jennifer Zamzow, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Center for Ethics and Policy, Carnegie Mellon University - Affective Forecasting in Medical Decision-Making: What Do Physicians Owe Their Patients?

  • Alexander CapronUniversity Professor; Scott H. Bice Chair in Healthcare Law, Policy and Ethics; Professor of Law and Medicine, Keck School of Medicine; Co-Director, Pacific Center for Health Policy and Ethics, USC Gould School of Law Mobile Devices, Small Data, and Personal Healthcare Decisions: Behavioral Economics’ New Frontier and the Law

  • Ester Moher, Postdoctoral Fellow, Electronic Health Information Lab, University of Ottawa (with Khaled El Emam), The Perilous Promise of Privacy: Ironic Influences on Disclosures of Health Information

  • Moderator: Robert D. Truog, Professor of Medical Ethics, Anesthesiology, & Pediatrics; Director of Clinical Ethics, Harvard Medical School; Senior Associate in Critical Care Medicine, Children’s Hospital Boston; Executive Director, Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice

​10:30 - 10:45am: Break

10:45am - 12:30pm: Panel 6, Deciding for Patients and Letting Patients Decide for Themselves

  • Matthew J. B. Lawrence, Academic Fellow, Petrie-Flom Center - Justice by Default: Solving Medicare's Backlog Problem

  • Abigail Moncrieff, Peter Paul Career Development Professor, Associate Professor of Law, BU School of Law (with Manisha Padi) - Libertarians, Cognitive Failures, and Transaction Costs: The Behavioral Case for the Individual Mandate

  • Sarah Conly, Lecturer in Law and Philosophy Fellow, The Law School, The University of Chicago - Death Squads, Paternalism, and End of Life Care

  • Nina Kohn, Professor of Law, Syracuse University College of Law (with Jeremy Blumenthal) - Improving Health Care Decisions by Encouraging Values-Based Surrogate Selection (or: Choose the One You’re Like, Not the One You Love)

  • Barbara Evans, Professor of Law and George Butler Research Professor Director, Center on Biotechnology & Law, Affiliated Faculty, Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Affiliated Member, Baylor College of Medicine Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy, University of Houston - Preventing Harms to Patients Who Know Too Much About Their Own Genomes

  • Modertator: Christopher T. Robertson, Visiting Professor of Law, Harvard Law School and Associate Professor, James E. Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona

​12:30 - 1:00pm: Break to Pick Up Lunch

1:00 - 2:00pm: Lunchtime Plenary

2:00 - 3:00pm: Panel 7, Defaults in Health Care

  • Anna Sinaiko, Research Scientist, Harvard School of Public Health (with Richard Frank and Richard Zeckhauser) - Selection Effects Versus Default Power: The Choices of Terminated Medicare Advantage Clients

  • David Tannenbaum, Postdoctoral Fellow, Anderson School of Management, UCLA (with Peter Ditto) - Default Behavior as Social Inference

  • Elliot Doomes, Counsel, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management, U.S. House of Representatives (with Aeva Gaymon Doomes) - How Choice Architecture Can Define a New Era of Providing Mental Health Treatment

  • David Orentlicher, Samuel R. Rosen Professor of Law, Co-director of the William S. and Christine S. Hall Center for Law and Health, Indiana University - Presumed Consent to Organ Donation

  • Moderator: Gregory Curfman, Executive Editor, NEJM

3:00pm: Closing Remarks

Attendance is free and open to the public, but space is limited and registration is required. Register here.


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