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“Pay them if it works”: Discrete choice experiments on the acceptability of financial incentives to change health related behaviour

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  • Promberger, Marianne
  • Dolan, Paul
  • Marteau, Theresa M.

Abstract

The use of financial incentives to change health-related behaviour is often opposed by members of the public. We investigated whether the acceptability of incentives is influenced by their effectiveness, the form the incentive takes, and the particular behaviour targeted. We conducted discrete choice experiments, in 2010 with two samples (n = 81 and n = 101) from a self-selected online panel, and in 2011 with an offline general population sample (n = 450) of UK participants to assess the acceptability of incentive-based treatments for smoking cessation and weight loss. We focused on the extent to which this varied with the type of incentive (cash, vouchers for luxury items, or vouchers for healthy groceries) and its effectiveness (ranging from 5% to 40% compared to a standard treatment with effectiveness fixed at 10%). The acceptability of financial incentives increased with effectiveness. Even a small increase in effectiveness from 10% to 11% increased the proportion favouring incentives from 46% to 55%. Grocery vouchers were more acceptable than cash or vouchers for luxury items (about a 20% difference), and incentives were more acceptable for weight loss than for smoking cessation (60% vs. 40%). The acceptability of financial incentives to change behaviour is not necessarily negative but rather is contingent on their effectiveness, the type of incentive and the target behaviour.

Suggested Citation

  • Promberger, Marianne & Dolan, Paul & Marteau, Theresa M., 2012. "“Pay them if it works”: Discrete choice experiments on the acceptability of financial incentives to change health related behaviour," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(12), pages 2509-2514.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:75:y:2012:i:12:p:2509-2514
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.09.033
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Paul Dolan & Rebecca Shaw & Aki Tsuchiya & Alan Williams, 2005. "QALY maximisation and people's preferences: a methodological review of the literature," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(2), pages 197-208.
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    Cited by:

    1. Paloyo, Alfredo R. & Reichert, Arndt R. & Reuss-Borst, Monika & Tauchmann, Harald, 2015. "Who responds to financial incentives for weight loss? Evidence from a randomized controlled trial," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 44-52.
    2. Dolan, Paul & Rudisill, Caroline, 2014. "The effect of financial incentives on chlamydia testing rates: Evidence from a randomized experiment," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 140-148.
    3. Pechey, Rachel & Burge, Peter & Mentzakis, Emmanouil & Suhrcke, Marc & Marteau, Theresa M., 2014. "Public acceptability of population-level interventions to reduce alcohol consumption: A discrete choice experiment," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 104-109.
    4. Kraak, Vivica I. & Swinburn, Boyd & Lawrence, Mark & Harrison, Paul, 2014. "A Q methodology study of stakeholders’ views about accountability for promoting healthy food environments in England through the Responsibility Deal Food Network," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(P1), pages 207-218.
    5. Michael Clark & Domino Determann & Stavros Petrou & Domenico Moro & Esther Bekker-Grob, 2014. "Discrete Choice Experiments in Health Economics: A Review of the Literature," PharmacoEconomics, Springer, vol. 32(9), pages 883-902, September.
    6. repec:eee:socmed:v:196:y:2018:i:c:p:227-232 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    UK; Health incentives; Acceptability; Public policy;

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