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Changing Eating Habits - A Field Experiment in Primary Schools

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Abstract

We conduct a field experiment in 31 primary schools in England to test whether incentives to eat fruit and vegetables help children develop healthier habits. The intervention consists of rewarding children with stickers and little gifts for a period of four weeks for choosing a portion of fruit and vegetables at lunch. We compare the effects of two incentive schemes (competition and piece rate) on choices and consumption over the course of the intervention as well as once the incentives are removed and six months later. We find that the intervention had positive effects, but the effects vary substantially according to age and gender. However, we find little evidence of sustained long term effects, except for the children from poorer socio-economic backgrounds.

Suggested Citation

  • Michele Belot & Jonathan James & Patrick Nolen, 2013. "Changing Eating Habits - A Field Experiment in Primary Schools," ESE Discussion Papers 219, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  • Handle: RePEc:edn:esedps:219
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    File URL: http://www.econ.ed.ac.uk/papers/id219_esedps.pdf
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    1. Belot, Michèle & James, Jonathan, 2011. "Healthy school meals and educational outcomes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 489-504, May.
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    1. #HEJC papers for September 2013
      by academichealtheconomists in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2013-09-01 04:01:38

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    Cited by:

    1. Manuela Angelucci & Silvia Prina & Heather Royer & Anya Samek, 2015. "When Incentives Backfire: Spillover Effects in Food Choice," Framed Field Experiments 00444, The Field Experiments Website.
    2. List, John A. & Samek, Anya Savikhin, 2015. "The behavioralist as nutritionist: Leveraging behavioral economics to improve child food choice and consumption," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 135-146.
    3. 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.
    4. Loewenstein, George & Price, Joseph & Volpp, Kevin, 2016. "Habit formation in children: Evidence from incentives for healthy eating," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 47-54.
    5. repec:bri:cmpowp:13/328 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Andres Silva & Lindsey M. Higgins & Micaela M. Kulesz, 2016. "Nutritional Impact of Child-Directed TV Food Advertising Regulation: Are We Rearranging the Deck Chairs on the Titanic?," Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(3), pages 422-444.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    incentives; health; habits; child nutrition; field experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education

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