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Getting a healthy start? Nudge versus economic incentives

Author

Listed:
  • Rachel Griffith
  • Sarah Smith
  • Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholder

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Abstract

We compare the effects of economic incentives with a “nudge” (a policy intervention that aims to influence behaviour through changing the “choice architecture”) in relation to improving dietary choices. We study a large-scale, nationally-implemented policy – the UK Healthy Start Scheme – that aimed to increase fruit and vegetable consumption. The policy combined standard economic incentives with elements of nudge, the most important of which is a potential labelling effect. We show that the scheme was successful; the estimated intention to treat effect indicates that spending on fruit and vegetables increased by 15 per cent, or roughly two-thirds of a portion per household per day. The response can be attributed entirely to the economic incentive effects; there is no evidence of any effect from the nudge aspects of the policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Rachel Griffith & Sarah Smith & Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholder, 2014. "Getting a healthy start? Nudge versus economic incentives," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 14/328, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  • Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:14/328
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    File URL: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/cmpo/publications/papers/2014/wp328.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    dietary choices; nudge policies; targeted benefits;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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