Dr M.A.J. (Merel) van Hulsen MSc

Merel van Hulsen
Erasmus School of Economics (ESE)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
ERIM PhD Candidate
Field: Marketing
Affiliated since 2017

PhD Track Wait for Others? Social and Intertemporal Preferences in Allocation of Healthcare Resources

Every day, people make decisions that involve allocating scarce resources like time or money to one use or another. Such decisions may come with different consequences for others (social preferences) and for the future (intertemporal preferences). So far, research regarding the effect of peoples’ social and intertemporal preferences on their decision making have remained largely separate. In this thesis, the joint effect of these preferences on allocation decisions is studied. The focus in these studies is on decision making in the healthcare domain. This is an interesting and relevant domain for studying social and intertemporal preferences because in most countries the budget for healthcare is limited and, therefore, decisions have to be made about how to spend this budget. Decisions about who receives treatment and when may of course have significant temporal and social consequences.


All in all, using a variety of methods for collecting and analyzing data across the four chapters, this thesis shows that social preferences seem to have a stronger effect on decision making in the health care context than intertemporal preferences. Moreover, while there is considerable difference in preferences between people participating in the studies, a part of them is purely selfish in their choice behavior while another part seems more motivated by inequity aversion. This heterogeneity poses a challenge for policy makers. Targeted policies and communication strategies will be required to achieve behavioral change or public support for policies in the majority of the population.

Social preferences, time preferences, Resource allocation, priority setting, waiting lists, public preferences, efficiency, equity, social dilemma
Time frame
2017 -


  • Academic (3)
    • van Hulsen, M., Rohde, K., & van Exel, J. (2023). Preferences for investment in and allocation of additional healthcare capacity. Social Science and Medicine, 320, 115717. [115717]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2023.115717

    • van Hulsen, M., Rohde, K., & van Exel, J. (2022). Consideration of others and consideration of future consequences predict cooperation in an acute Social Dilemma: An application to COVID-19. Oxford Open Economics, [odac005]. https://doi.org/10.1093/ooec/odac005

    • Dieteren, C. M., Van Hulsen, M. A. J., Rohde, K. I. M., & Van Exel, J. (2022). How should ICU beds be allocated during a crisis? Evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic. PLoS ONE, 17(8 August), [e0270996]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0270996

  • Professional (2)
    • van Exel, J., van Hulsen, M., & Rohde, K. (2020). In tijden van coronavirus vertrouwt de burger de arts. Economisch-Statistische Berichten, 105(4785), 226-227.

    • van Hulsen, M., Rohde, K., & van Exel, J. (2020). Het Nederlandse coronabeleid als sociaal dilemma. VGE Bulletin, 37(2), 17-19.

  • Internal (1)
    • van Hulsen, M. (2023). Wait for others? Social and intertemporal preferences in allocation of healthcare resources. [Doctoral Thesis, Erasmus University Rotterdam]. Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR).


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