Time Preferences and Medication Adherence: A Field Experiment With Pregnant Women in South Africa

CEBI Working Paper 29/20

59 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2021

See all articles by Kai Barron

Kai Barron

WZB Berlin Social Science Center

Mette Damgaard

Aarhus University - Department of Economics and Business Economics

Christina Annette Gravert

University of Copenhagen

Lisa Norrgren

University of Gothenburg - Department of Economics

Date Written: December 22, 2020

Abstract

The effectiveness of health recommendations and treatment plans depends on the extent to which individuals follow them. For the individual, medication adherence involves an inter-temporal trade-off between expected future health benefits and immediate effort costs. Therefore examining time preferences may help us to understand why some people fail to follow health recommendations and treatment plans. In this paper, we use a simple, real-effort task implemented via text message to elicit the time preferences of pregnant women in South Africa. We find evidence that high discounters are significantly less likely to report to adhere to the recommendation of taking daily iron supplements daily during pregnancy. There is some indication that time-inconsistency also negatively affects adherence. Together our results suggest that measuring time preferences could help predict medication adherence and thus be used to improve preventive health care measures.

Note: Trial Registration: The AEA RCT Registry trial number associated with this project is AEARCTR-0004018. Funding Statement: Funding was generously provided by Trygg-Hansas Forskningsfond, Sweden. Declaration of Interests: None of the authors have any conflict of interests to declare. Ethics Approval Statement: Ethics Approval has been obtained from Pharma Ethics Ltd, Reference No:181021588.

Keywords: time preferences, medication adherence, field experiment

JEL Classification: C93, D91, I12

Suggested Citation

Barron, Kai and Damgaard, Mette and Gravert, Christina Annette and Norrgren, Lisa, Time Preferences and Medication Adherence: A Field Experiment With Pregnant Women in South Africa (December 22, 2020). CEBI Working Paper 29/20, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3750707 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3750707

Kai Barron

WZB Berlin Social Science Center ( email )

Reichpietschufer 50
D-10785 Berlin, 10785
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/kaibarron/

Mette Damgaard

Aarhus University - Department of Economics and Business Economics ( email )

Fuglesangs Alle 4
Aarhus, 8210
Denmark

Christina Annette Gravert (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen ( email )

Nørregade 10
Copenhagen, DK-1165
Denmark

Lisa Norrgren

University of Gothenburg - Department of Economics ( email )

Sweden

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