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Preferences for public health insurance: egotism or altruism?

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This paper reports the results of a telephone survey to elicit preferences for public or private health insurance. The survey adopted a method described by Hudson and Jones that allows respondents to distinguish between self-interest and altruistic motivations. A random sample of 403 people drawn from the central Sydney area participated in the survey. The results suggest strong altruistic support for publicly funded health care even among those whose self-interest is better served by tax-financed incentives to take out private insurance. This result undermines the assumption in the public choice literature that people will vote for a tax policy only if it is in their self-interest.

Keywords: Health care; Insurance; Research

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2002

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