PhD defence of Kim van Wilgenburg on 26 April 2018

On Thursday 26 April Kim van Wilgenburg will defend her PhD thesis entitled 'Beliefs, Preferences and Health Insurance Behavior'. Supervisor is Professor Owen O'Donnell and co-supervisor Professor Aurelien Baillon (both from Erasmus School of Economics).

About Kim van Wilgenburg

Kim van Wilgenburg (1984) obtained a bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2007 at the University of Amsterdam followed by a master’s degree in International Health (Queen Margaret University Edinburgh) and Health Economics (Erasmus University Rotterdam). After working at the healthcare department of a large consultancy company for three years she joined the Health Economics group at the Erasmus School of Economics as a PhD candidate in 2013 supervised by Professor Owen O’Donnell and Professor Aurelien Baillon. During her PhD she also worked as a consultant for the World Health Organization. She was involved in the monitoring of financial protection in health at the global level and provided technical oversight in a methodological study with the aim to develop better and new instruments to measure health expenditure in household surveys. Since February 2018 she joined the Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management as an assistant professor in Health Economics. Her research applies insights from behavioral economics to health policy challenges.

Thesis abstract

The main body of this thesis uses behavioral economics to investigate the discrepancy between low observed take up of voluntary health insurance and estimates of large potential gains from health insurance in low- and middle-income countries that are derived from standard economic models. Chapter 2-4 use data from the Philippines on beliefs, preferences and health insurance behavior purposefully collected for this thesis. Chapter 2 examines the association of elicited risk preferences defined by prospect theory and time preferences defined by quasi-hyperbolic discounting with health insurance enrollment. Chapter 3 introduces and applies a new decomposition of the willingness to pay for insurance into its fair price and four behavioral deviations from that price including subjective beliefs about the distribution of medical expenses. Chapter 4 presents an evaluation of the long-term impact of temporary inducements for health insurance enrolment. Chapter 5 is connected to the others through the focus on belief elicitation. It introduces a new method of identifying and purging subadditivity bias in reported probabilities and applies it using survey data on stock holding behavior.

Time and location

The PhD defence will take place in the Senate Hall of Erasmus University Rotterdam and will start at 11.30 hrs.

More information

Kim van Wilgenburg conducted his doctoral research at the Tinbergen Institute. The Tinbergen Institute is a joint research institute of Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Amsterdam and Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of VU University Amsterdam.

For more information about this ceremony, please contact Ronald de Groot, Communication Officer of the Erasmus School of Economics phone +31 10 408 1762 or by email: