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The Causal Link Between Financial Incentives and Weight Loss – An Evidence-based Survey of the Literature

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  • Alfredo R. Paloyo
  • Arndt Rüdiger Reichert

    ()

  • Holger Reinermann
  • Harald Tauchmann

Abstract

Obesity and overweight are linked to diseases that cost society a significant amount of resources. While behavior modification can reduce the problem, instigating such lifestyle changes is an uneasy task. One potential way to reduce the problem is through the use of financial incentives. In this survey, we review the available evidence with a significant emphasis on studies that yield credible estimates of the effect of financial incentives on weight loss. We find that the scientific literature on the subject has not yet satisfactorily settled whether such a mechanism is effective at eliciting the desired behavioral and health outcomes. We therefore advocate a rigorous large-scale randomized experiment to provide reliable estimates of the effect.

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File URL: http://repec.rwi-essen.de/files/REP_11_290.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen in its series Ruhr Economic Papers with number 0290.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rwi:repape:0290

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Keywords: Financial incentives; weight loss; obesity; randomized experiment; survey;

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References

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  1. Imbens, Guido & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Scholarly Articles 3043416, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Cutler, David & Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Jay Bhattacharya & Neeraj Sood, 2011. "Who Pays for Obesity?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(1), pages 139-58, Winter.
  4. Ikeda, Shinsuke & Kang, Myong-Il & Ohtake, Fumio, 2010. "Hyperbolic discounting, the sign effect, and the body mass index," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 268-284, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Augurzky, Boris & Bauer, Thomas K. & Reichert, Arndt R. & Schmidt, Christoph M. & Tauchmann, Harald, 2012. "Does Money Burn Fat? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 6888, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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