…is the title of a seminar by Aki Tsuchiya that she will be giving in the Deparment of Economics on Tuesday 28 March, 1200-1300. It’s in seminar room G14. The abstract is below:
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) is considering an intervention that will identify job seeker benefit claimants who are at high risk of long term unemployment due to mental health difficulties, and will refer them to access cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) outside of NHS provision, funded by the DWP. The aim of this study is to examine public preferences regarding such an intervention. Since the target group is facing multiple difficulties and arguably has higher needs, the public may support the intervention; or, the public may find it unfair that the unemployed are fast-tracked. There are two research questions. First, are public preferences inequality averse with respect to access to CBT? For example, if people are inequality averse, then they may prefer a longer total wait that is evenly distributed across people over a shorter total wait that is unevenly distributed across people. Second, are the relevant public preferences symmetric (or anonymous) across employment groups? For example, people may want to give higher priority to those waiting for CBT if they are also unemployed; or if they are also holding down a job. The paper reports on an online survey of the UK voting public (n=1000), using binary choice questions from a societal perspective. Preliminary results indicate that around three quarters of respondents are inequality averse; and slightly over half are asymmetric, in favour of the unemployed. However, when the two considerations are combined, the modal preference appears to be inequality averse and symmetric.