Pregnant women choices regarding the prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome (amniocentesis)
Paris School of Economics
How Mothers-to-be Weigh the Risks of Amniocentesis
My interest in health economics began four years ago when I wrote a Master's dissertation on the impact of the link between the hepatitis B vaccine and multiple sclerosis on the behaviour of French subjects. I then worked as an intern for the OECD within the Territorial Indicators and Statistics Unit studying health inequalities between OECD countries. In 2007, I also completed an internship at the DREES (Directorate for Research, Studies, Assessment and Statistics of Ministry of Health), which resulted in the publication of an article.* During my last year of studies at the ENSAE (School of Statistics and Economic Administration) and while completing my Master's degree at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, I became interested in the factors that influence pregnant women to undergo amniocentesis. My background therefore logically led me to a thesis topic combining health and economics – two areas that are of particular interest to me. In October 2008, I began a doctoral thesis entitled, "Individual vaccination behaviour and the fight against epidemics", funded by the AXA Research Fund under the direction of Pierre-Yves Geoffard.
My work begins with the observation that the fight against epidemics is a major issue in health policy. The well-being of populations depends on the existence of a healthcare system that allows all individuals to protect themselves from infectious diseases through vaccination. However, one of the fundamental issues faced by vaccination policy is the reluctance that individuals sometimes have to be vaccinated, even though the risk of side effects linked to the vaccine is much lower than the risk of contracting the disease if they are not vaccinated. Analysing individual vaccination behaviour is therefore essential for determining the strategies to implement in policies to fight epidemics. My doctoral thesis more specifically focuses on parents' decision on whether to have their children vaccinated, which is a delegated decision-making process. I will use game theory models and notions of behavioural economics to analyse child vaccination behaviour. Lastly, given that individual decisions on whether to be vaccinated against infectious diseases have collective consequences, I will try to develop models that reproduce the spread of an epidemic based on individual vaccination behaviour.
The AXA Research Fund's support is essential to me, because it is allowing me to fund my research. The AXA Fellowship is also very generous compared to other grants available to PhD students.
* FERRETTI C., GARROUSTE C., Les sept premières années de carrière des infirmiers diplômés en 1998, Etudes et Résultats, n°671, novembre 2008. (Title in English: The first seven years of career of nurses who earned their degree in 1998)
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