Bryan Caplan  

How Singapore Sells Co-Payment

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In Singapore, the government almost never hands out goodies free of charge.  There's almost always a co-payment, even for health care and education.  Western economists justify these charges as a partial remedy for "moral hazard." 

But perhaps Singapore has been more successful in selling the idea because it's got better marketing.  They don't defend co-payments as a way to avoid moral hazard.  They defend co-payments as a way to avoid a "buffet mentality." 

Great slogan, no?  Economic educators, formal and informal, take note!


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COMMENTS (6 to date)
Dave writes:

Reminds me of the "cafeteria Catholic" metaphor.

Steve Miller writes:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7884113202622628827&hl=en

@ 2:35 in I explain moral hazard (and adverse selection), using the example of an all-you-can-eat buffet.

I'm pretty sure I got the idea from Bryan, though.

dearieme writes:

As distinct from Buffet?

chug writes:

Many years ago I was with a university continuing education program that offered free admission to graduate students. The no-show rate for these "free registrations" was almost 100%. So I implemented a $5 charge, and the student registration rate dropped by about 75% but almost all graduate students who paid $5 for registration (rather than the regular $195 rate) showed up.

Requiring a token fee is a good way to cut down on "free things."

csning writes:

"But perhaps Singapore has been more successful in selling the idea because it's got better marketing."

Right, and I'm completely sure that the fact that it is functionally a one party system and a restrictive semi - democracy has nothing at all to do with that.

Instareader writes:

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