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Nanny state or good public policy: Do the benefits of mandatory health programs justify the loss of consumer choice?

Funding: 2014: $100,000
2015: $130,000
2016: $120,000

Project Member(s): Goodall, S., Viney, R.

Funding or Partner Organisation: Australian Research Council (ARC Discovery Projects)

Start year: 2014

Summary: Governments are increasingly turning to mandatory programs to improve health. Such programs are appealing because there are high health benefits from universal participation and low costs for promotion and monitoring the program. But this apparent benefit relies on restriction of personal choice, which may impose welfare losses on consumers. Evaluations generally ignore loss of choice, despite evidence suggesting consumers value the ability to choose. This study will estimate the impact and value this loss of consumer choice, explore program specific factors and consumer characteristics influencing the valuation, and determine whether and how restricted choice should be explicitly considered when evaluating public health programs.


Meshcheriakova, O, Goodall, S & Viney, R 1970, 'Consumer preferences for food processing technologies: evidence from a discrete choice experiment', 38th Annual Australian Health Economics Society Conference, Perth.

Keywords: Consumer Choice,Mandatory Health Programs,Economic Evaluation

FOR Codes: Health Policy Evaluation, Health Economics, Health Policy Economic Outcomes, Health economics , Evaluation of health and support services not elsewhere classified