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

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

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.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/56489
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Paper provided by United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service in its series Economic Research Report with number 56489.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ags:uersrr:56489
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  1. Stefano DellaVigna & Ulrike Malmendier, 2004. "Overestimating Self_Control: Evidence from the Health Club Industry," NBER Working Papers 10819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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 S164-S187, February.
  3. 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.
  4. Cass R. Sunstein & Richard H. Thaler, 2003. "Libertarian paternalism is not an oxymoron," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 48(Jun).
  5. Shiv, Baba & Fedorikhin, Alexander, 1999. " Heart and Mind in Conflict: The Interplay of Affect and Cognition in Consumer Decision Making," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(3), pages 278-92, December.
  6. repec:mpr:mprres:5781 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Richard Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2004. "Save more tomorrow: Using behavioral economics to increase employee saving," Natural Field Experiments 00337, The Field Experiments Website.
  8. 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.
  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.
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