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Behavioral Economic Concepts To Encourage Healthy Eating in School Cafeterias: Experiments and Lessons From College Students

Author

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  • Just, David R.
  • Wansink, Brian
  • Mancino, Lisa
  • Guthrie, Joanne F.

Abstract

Changing small factors that influence consumer choice may lead to healthier eating within controlled settings, such as school cafeterias. This report describes a behavioral experiment in a college cafeteria to assess the effects of various payment options and menu selection methods on food choices. The results indicate that payment options, such as cash or debit cards, can significantly affect food choices. College students using a card that prepaid only for healthful foods made more nutritious choices than students using either cash or general debit cards. How and when individuals select their food can also influence food choices. College students who preselected their meals from a menu board made significantly different food choices than students who ordered their meals while viewing the foods in line.

Suggested Citation

  • Just, David R. & Wansink, Brian & Mancino, Lisa & Guthrie, Joanne F., 2008. "Behavioral Economic Concepts To Encourage Healthy Eating in School Cafeterias: Experiments and Lessons From College Students," Economic Research Report 56489, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uersrr:56489
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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/56489
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daniel M. Finkelstein & Elaine Hill & Robert C. Whitaker, 2007. "School Food Environments and Policies in U.S. Public Schools," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 134adc746ce140b3becb9375d, Mathematica Policy Research.
    2. Lin, Biing-Hwan & Guthrie, Joanne & Frazao, Elizabeth, 2001. "American Children's Diets Not Making the Grade," Food Review: The Magazine of Food Economics, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, vol. 24(2).
    3. repec:mpr:mprres:5781 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Richard H. Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2004. "Save More Tomorrow (TM): Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Saving," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages 164-187, February.
    5. Just, David R. & Mancino, Lisa & Wansink, Brian, 2007. "Could Behavioral Economics Help Improve Diet Quality for Nutrition Assistance Program Participants?," Economic Research Report 6391, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    6. Cass R. Sunstein & Richard H. Thaler, 2003. "Libertarian paternalism is not an oxymoron," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 48(Jun).
    7. Malmendier, Ulrike M. & Della Vigna, Stefano, 2002. "Overestimating Self-Control: Evidence from the Health Club Industry," Research Papers 1880, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    8. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard Thaler, 2004. "Save more tomorrow: Using behavioral economics to increase employee saving," Natural Field Experiments 00337, The Field Experiments Website.
    9. Ralston, Katherine L. & Newman, Constance & Clauson, Annette L. & Guthrie, Joanne F. & Buzby, Jean C., 2008. "The National School Lunch Program: Background, Trends, and Issues," Economic Research Report 56464, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    10. Alberto Abadie & David Drukker & Jane Leber Herr & Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Implementing matching estimators for average treatment effects in Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(3), pages 290-311, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Georgia S. Papoutsi & Andreas C. Drichoutis & Rodolfo M. Nayga Jr., 2013. "The Causes Of Childhood Obesity: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 743-767, September.
    2. Lombardini, Chiara & Lankoski, Leena, 2011. "An Economic-Psychological Model of Sustainable Food Consumption," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114403, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    3. Keane, Christopher R. & Lafky, Jonathan M. & Board, Oliver J., 2012. "Altruism, reciprocity and health: A social experiment in restaurant choice," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 143-150.
    4. Lombardini-Riipinen, Chiara & Lankoski, Leena, 2010. "Take off the heater: Utility effect and food environment effect in food consumption decisions," 115th Joint EAAE/AAEA Seminar, September 15-17, 2010, Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany 116431, European Association of Agricultural Economists;Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    5. Norbert Wilson, 2016. "When the Cupboards Are Bare: Nudging Food Pantry Clients to Healthier Foods," Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 125-133.
    6. Pham, Matthew V. & Roe, Brian E., 2013. "Will Reducing the Calorie Content of School Lunches Affect Participation? Evidence from a Choice Experiment with Suburban Parents," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 149816, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    7. Chiara Lombardini & Leena Lankoski, 2013. "Forced Choice Restriction in Promoting Sustainable Food Consumption: Intended and Unintended Effects of the Mandatory Vegetarian Day in Helsinki Schools," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 159-178, June.

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