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Nudges at the dentist

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  • Altmann, Steffen
  • Traxler, Christian

Abstract

We implement a field experiment to study the impact of reminder messages on dental health prevention. Patients who are due to schedule a check-up receive no reminder, a neutral reminder postcard, or reminders including additional information on the benefits of prevention. Our results document a strong impact of reminders. Within one month after receiving a reminder, the fraction of patients who make a check-up appointment more than doubles. The effect declines slightly over time, but remains economically and statistically significant. Including additional information in the reminders does not significantly increase response rates relative to the neutral reminder. Finally, our data indicates that applying reminders repeatedly neither strengthens nor weakens their effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Altmann, Steffen & Traxler, Christian, 2014. "Nudges at the dentist," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 19-38.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:72:y:2014:i:c:p:19-38
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2014.07.007
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    1. Thomas F. Crossley & Jochem Bresser & Liam Delaney & Joachim Winter, 2017. "Can Survey Participation Alter Household Saving Behaviour?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(606), pages 2332-2357, November.
    2. Simeon Schudy & Verena Utikal, 2015. "Does imperfect data privacy stop people from collecting personal health data?," TWI Research Paper Series 98, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
    3. Bronchetti, Erin Todd & Huffman, David B. & Magenheim, Ellen, 2015. "Attention, intentions, and follow-through in preventive health behavior: Field experimental evidence on flu vaccination," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 270-291.
    4. Felix Koelle & Tom Lane & Daniele Nosenzo & Chris Starmer, 2017. "Nudging the electorate: what works and why?," Discussion Papers 2017-16, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    5. repec:eee:jhecon:v:62:y:2018:i:c:p:95-104 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:eee:joepsy:v:66:y:2018:i:c:p:45-63 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:56:y:2018:i:3:p:1788-1808 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Damgaard, Mette Trier & Gravert, Christina, 2018. "The hidden costs of nudging: Experimental evidence from reminders in fundraising," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 15-26.
    9. Dolls, Mathias & Doerrenberg, Philipp & Peichl, Andreas & Stichnoth, Holger, 2016. "Do savings increase in response to salient information about retirement and expected pensions?," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-059, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    10. Maria De Paola & Francesca Gioia & Fabio Piluso, 2017. "Does Reminding Of Behavioural Biases Increase Returns From Financial Trading? A Field Experiment," Working Papers 201705, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
    11. repec:aea:aejapp:v:11:y:2019:i:2:p:114-42 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Bertoni, M.; Corazzini, L.; Robone, S.;, 2017. "The Good Outcomes of Bad News. A Randomized Field Experiment on Formatting Breast Cancer Screening Invitations," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 17/27, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    13. repec:eee:ecolet:v:171:y:2018:i:c:p:133-136 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Steffen Altmann & Christian Traxler & Philipp Weinschenk, 2017. "Deadlines and Cognitive Limitations," CESifo Working Paper Series 6761, CESifo Group Munich.
    15. Carrera, Mariana & Royer, Heather & Stehr, Mark & Sydnor, Justin & Taubinsky, Dmitry, 2018. "The limits of simple implementation intentions: Evidence from a field experiment on making plans to exercise," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 95-104.
    16. Muller, Paul & Habla, Wolfgang, 2018. "Experimental and non-experimental evidence on limited attention and present bias at the gym," ZEW Discussion Papers 18-041, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    17. repec:eee:labeco:v:45:y:2017:i:c:p:158-168 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Bertoni, Marco & Corazzini, Luca & Robone, Silvana, 2019. "Promoting Breast Cancer Screening Take-Ups with Zero Cost: Evidence from an Experiment on Formatting Invitation Letters in Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 12193, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    19. Keith M. Marzilli Ericson, 2014. "On the Interaction of Memory and Procrastination: Implications for Reminders," NBER Working Papers 20381, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Gaudeul, Alexia & Kaczmarek, Magdalena Claudia, 2016. ""Many a slip between the cup and the lip": The effect of default-based nudges on prosocial behavior and attitudes," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 297, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    21. Oliver Himmler & Robert Jäckle & Philipp Weinschenk, 2019. "Soft Commitments, Reminders, and Academic Performance," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 114-142, April.
    22. repec:cup:agrerw:v:48:y:2019:i:01:p:117-141_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Emma Boswell Dean & Frank Schilbach & Heather Schofield, 2017. "Poverty and Cognitive Function," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Poverty Traps, pages 57-118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Landeghem, Bert Van & Cörvers, Frank & Grip, Andries de, 2017. "Is there a rationale to contact the unemployed right from the start? Evidence from a natural field experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 158-168.
    25. Huber, Martin & Kotevska, Ana & Stojcheska, Aleksandra Martinovska & Solovyeva, Anna, 2019. "Evaluating an Information Campaign about Rural Development Policies in FYR Macedonia," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(1), pages 117-141, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Field experiment; Reminder; Memory limitations; Attention; Health prevention;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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