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Nudges at the Dentist

Author

Listed:
  • Steffen Altmann

    () (Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA))

  • Christian Traxler

    () (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn and University of Marburg, Department of Economics)

Abstract

We implement a randomized field experiment to study the impact of reminders on dental health prevention. Patients who are due for a check-up receive no reminder, a neutral reminder postcard, or reminders including additional information on the benefits of prevention. Our results document a strong impact of reminders. Within one month after receiving a reminder, the fraction of patients who make a check-up appointment more than doubles. The effect declines slightly over time, but remains economically and statistically significant. Including additional information in the reminders does not increase response rates. In fact, the neutral reminder has the strongest impact for the overall population as well as for important subgroups of patients. Finally, we document that being exposed to reminders repeatedly does neither strengthen nor weaken their effectiveness.

Suggested Citation

  • Steffen Altmann & Christian Traxler, 2012. "Nudges at the Dentist," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2012_15, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  • Handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2012_15
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Trier Damgaard, Mette & Gravert, Christina, 2016. "The hidden costs of nudging: Experimental evidence from reminders in fundraising," Working Papers in Economics 650, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    2. Mathias Dolls & Philipp Doerrenberg & Andreas Peichl & Holger Stichnoth, 2016. "Do Savings Increase in Response to Salient Information about Retirement and Expected Pensions?," NBER Working Papers 22684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Landeghem, Bert Van & Cörvers, Frank & Grip, Andries de, 2017. "Is there a rationale to contact the unemployed right from the start? Evidence from a natural field experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 158-168.
    4. Felix Koelle & Tom Lane & Daniele Nosenzo & Chris Starmer, 2017. "Nudging the electorate: what works and why?," Discussion Papers 2017-16, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    5. Bronchetti, Erin Todd & Huffman, David B. & Magenheim, Ellen, 2015. "Attention, intentions, and follow-through in preventive health behavior: Field experimental evidence on flu vaccination," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 270-291.
    6. Bertoni, M.; Corazzini, L.; Robone, S.;, 2017. "The Good Outcomes of Bad News. A Randomized Field Experiment on Formatting Breast Cancer Screening Invitations," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 17/27, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    7. Keith M. Marzilli Ericson, 2014. "On the Interaction of Memory and Procrastination: Implications for Reminders," NBER Working Papers 20381, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Huber, Martin & Kotevska, Ana & Martinovska-Stojcheska, A. & Solovyeva, Anna, 2016. "Evaluating an information campaign about rural development policies in (FYR) Macedonia," FSES Working Papers 469, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Freiburg/Fribourg Switzerland.
    9. Gaudeul, Alexia & Kaczmarek, Magdalena Claudia, 2016. ""Many a slip between the cup and the lip": The effect of default-based nudges on prosocial behavior and attitudes," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 297, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    10. De Paola, Maria & Gioia, Francesca & Piluso, Fabio, 2017. "Does Reminding of Behavioural Biases Increase Returns from Financial Trading? A Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 10983, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Simeon Schudy & Verena Utikal, 2015. "Does imperfect data privacy stop people from collecting personal health data?," TWI Research Paper Series 98, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Field Experiment; Reminders; Nudges; Memory Limitations; Prevention; Dental Health; Framing;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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