Screening and preventable illness

Margaret M. Byrne, Peter Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


If an agent does not discount the future at a constant rate, as in some forms of myopia, her optimal strategy is unattainable without some commitment device. We apply this familiar idea to a model of screening and disease prevention, and explore how financial incentives can correct suboptimal health choices. In general, myopia need not imply under-screening. While the optimal intervention for prevention effort is a state-invariant subsidy, the optimal intervention for screening may involve a tax or a subsidy. When screening and prevention are coincident, a simple and practical subsidy equal to one minus the discount factor to both screening and intervention is indicated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1077-1088
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Health Economics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001


  • Financial incentives
  • Medical screening
  • Myopia
  • Time-inconsistency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


Dive into the research topics of 'Screening and preventable illness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this