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IFS-STICERD Public Economics Seminar

Targeting Precision Medicine: Evidence from Prenatal Screening

Petra Persson (Stanford), joint with Peter Conner, Liran Einav, Amy Finkelstein, and Heidi Williams

Wednesday 04 May 2022 12:30 - 13:30

Many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as in person or as hybrid (online and in person) events. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.

Unless otherwise specified, in-person seminars are open to the public.

Those unable to join the seminars in-person are welcome to participate via zoom if the event is hybrid.


About this event

Technological advances in medicine increasingly offer opportunities to target care to patients identified through screening, raising questions of how broadly to screen for potential cases of disease. We explore this trade-off empirically in the context of a new, non-invasive prenatal screening (cfDNA). cfDNA screening is used to target a followup, invasive test which is twice as costly and elevates the risk of miscarriage. Using Swedish administrative data on prenatal choices for pregnancies conceived between 2011 and 2019 – a period in which Swedish regions began providing coverage for the new screening – we document that cfDNA coverage has enormous effects both on increasing cfDNA screening and on reducing rates of invasive testing. To assess the impact of counterfactual targeting of cfDNA coverage, we develop and estimate a stylized model of prenatal choices. We find that narrow targeting of coverage for screening has the (rare) potential to improve outcomes and reduce costs, while broader coverage also improves outcomes but with increased costs. These findings point to the potential gains from well-designed targeting of screening, but at the same time highlight the importance of the targeting design.

This seminar series is jointly organized by the IFS and STICERD.

IFS-STICERD Public Economics seminars are held on Wednesdays in term time at 12.30-12.45 IN PERSON at the IFS.

Seminar organisers: Stuart Adam (IFS), Monica Costa Dias (IFS), Xavier Jaravel (LSE), Camille Landais (LSE), Attila Lindner (UCL), Joana Naritomi (LSE), and Johannes Spinnewijn (LSE).

For further information please contact Lubala Chibwe, either by email: l.chibwe@lse.ac.uk.

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