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Could Behavioral Economics Help Improve Diet Quality for Nutrition Assistance Program Participants?

  • Just, David R.
  • Mancino, Lisa
  • Wansink, Brian

Findings from behavioral and psychological studies indicate that people regularly and predictably behave in ways that contradict some standard assumptions of economic analysis. Recognizing that consumption choices are determined by factors other than prices, income, and information illuminates a broad array of strategies to influence consumers’ food choices. These strategies expand the list of possible ideas for improving the diet quality and health of participants in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Stamp Program; the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.

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Paper provided by United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service in its series Economic Research Report with number 6391.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ags:uersrr:6391
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  1. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1996. "Doing It Now or Later," Discussion Papers 1172, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Chou, Shin-Yi & Grossman, Michael & Saffer, Henry, 2004. "An economic analysis of adult obesity: results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 565-587, May.
  3. Smith, Trenton G. & Tasnadi, Attila, 2007. "A theory of natural addiction," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 316-344, May.
  4. Trenton G. Smith, 2004. "The McDonald’s Equilibrium. Advertising, empty calories, and the endogenous determination of dietary preferences," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 383-413, December.
  5. Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Ozdenoren, Emre & Salant, Stephen & Silverman, Dan, 2010. "Willpower and the Optimal Control of Visceral Urges," Discussion Papers dp-10-35, Resources For the Future.
  7. Parke E. Wilde & Christine K. Ranney, 2000. "The Monthly Food Stamp Cycle: Shooping Frequency and Food Intake Decisions in an Endogenous Switching Regression Framework," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 82(1), pages 200-213.
  8. Bowman, David & Minehart, Deborah & Rabin, Matthew, 1999. "Loss aversion in a consumption-savings model," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 155-178, February.
  9. Thaler, Richard H & Shefrin, H M, 1981. "An Economic Theory of Self-Control," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(2), pages 392-406, April.
  10. Jayachandran N. Variyam & John Cawley, 2006. "Nutrition Labels and Obesity," NBER Working Papers 11956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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