Why Does Diversity Matter for Health?
Prior research has found that patient-doctor racial concordance is important for increasing the demand for preventive healthcare among low-income African American men, particularly for invasive services. Although results were consistent with better communication as the mechanism, other explanations, such as differential messaging or doctor quality, were difficult to exclude. To eliminate confounding from these factors and uncover which aspects of communication are particularly important for influencing health behaviors, we propose a pilot RCT randomizing black and white adult male subjects to infomercials featuring black and white male physician-actors. The content of the infomercial will be the safety and effectiveness of adult seasonal flu vaccination. We will hold the signal (i.e. the infomercial script) constant, while varying features of the sender (i.e. race and authority). By including black and white respondents, we can test whether concordance effects differ across race. Our primary outcomes of interest include posterior beliefs about the risk/benefits of the flu shot; perceptions of the sender; willingness-to-pay (WTP) for a free flu shot voucher and redemption of said voucher.
- Working Paper: Persuasion in Medicine: Messaging to Increase Vaccine Demand, National Bureau of Economic Research