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Information makes markets work, and markets improve welfare

June 23, 2010

What has the South Indian fisheries economy got to do with UK healthcare? Quite a lot as it turns out.

In what has been termed “the digital provide“, the introduction of mobile phones to Indian fishermen, provided them with information on market prices for fish. This in turn allowed them to get a better price for their catch, completely eliminated waste of unsold fish, and reduced prices to the end customer. The information directly led to better welfare for both consumers and producers. (see Robert Jensen, Harvard economist)

Key here is that transparency of information to a group that were previously deprived access to information allowed markets to work and the markets improved welfare.

This is why patient experience and clinical outcomes have to be made fully available to patients in an easy to understand, timely way, including comparative data.

Informed consumers enable markets to work, and markets improve welfare.

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