Tuesday, 14th May 2019
13:30 - 14:30
CESS Seminar Rooms - 3 George Street Mews
Crowdfunding for Health Research Projects: an Online Experiment
The high costs of clinical trials and drug development inhibit access and speed of translation of new pharmaceutical innovations. Patents are commonly used as a means to incentivise future drug development further increasing the costs of new marketed drugs by restricting access to research and development. To overcome these limitations, a crowdfunding platform where certified researchers can ask the general public to fund their biomedical research projects may facilitate more timely testing and development of new drugs. Our study mimics a civic crowdfunding platform which aims to raise funds for early phase drug development projects. While the experimental literature acknowledges the similarity between crowdfunding platforms and threshold public good games, we add a health component to the options which reveal health preferences for crowds. Due to the inclusion of our health component, the classic problem of coordination on the most efficient option in threshold public goods becomes the distribution across least preferred options in our biomedical crowdfunding. We conduct an online experiment in which participants are endowed with an amount of money to be distributed among a private account or different biomedical projects with a positive externality. We then implement different behavioural tools to understand if and how neutral information nudges can help least preferred projects to reach funding threshold. Our study is particularly informative for under-researched clinical areas for drug development, such as rare diseases, which may benefit from innovative funding systems as they may currently be penalised by both industry objectives and societal preferences.