IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/23188.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Structure of Health Incentives: Evidence from a Field Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Mariana Carrera
  • Heather Royer
  • Mark F. Stehr
  • Justin R. Sydnor

Abstract

The use of incentives to encourage healthy behaviors is increasingly widespread, but we have little evidence about how best to structure these programs. We explore how different incentive designs affect behavior on the extensive and intensive margins through an experiment offering incentives to employees of a Fortune 500 company to use their workplace gym. Overall the likelihood of joining the gym was not strongly affected by the incentive design. Notably, front-loading incentives to encourage initial participation was not more effective than an incentive kept constant over time. For those who were already at least occasional users of the gym, however, we find more evidence that the design of incentives matters. For this group, front-loading incentives appears to be detrimental relative to a constant incentive, but a novel design that spreads out the incentive budget by turning incentives on and off over a longer period of time is effective.

Suggested Citation

  • Mariana Carrera & Heather Royer & Mark F. Stehr & Justin R. Sydnor, 2017. "The Structure of Health Incentives: Evidence from a Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 23188, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23188
    Note: HC HE LS
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w23188.pdf
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text is generally limited to series subscribers, however if the top level domain of the client browser is in a developing country or transition economy free access is provided. More information about subscriptions and free access is available at http://www.nber.org/wwphelp.html. Free access is also available to older working papers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Heather Royer & Mark Stehr & Justin Sydnor, 2015. "Incentives, Commitments, and Habit Formation in Exercise: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Workers at a Fortune-500 Company," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 51-84, July.
    2. Uri Gneezy & Stephan Meier & Pedro Rey-Biel, 2011. "When and Why Incentives (Don't) Work to Modify Behavior," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(4), pages 191-210, Fall.
    3. David R. Just & Joseph Price, 2013. "Using Incentives to Encourage Healthy Eating in Children," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(4), pages 855-872.
    4. Cawley, John & Price, Joshua A., 2013. "A case study of a workplace wellness program that offers financial incentives for weight loss," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 794-803.
    5. Philip Babcock & Kelly Bedard & Gary Charness & John Hartman & Heather Royer, 2015. "Letting Down The Team? Social Effects Of Team Incentives," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 13(5), pages 841-870, October.
    6. Heather Royer & Mark F. Stehr & Justin R. Sydnor, 2012. "Incentives, Commitments and Habit Formation in Exercise: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Workers at a Fortune-500 Company," NBER Working Papers 18580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Katherine L. Milkman & Julia A. Minson & Kevin G. M. Volpp, 2014. "Holding the Hunger Games Hostage at the Gym: An Evaluation of Temptation Bundling," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 60(2), pages 283-299, February.
    8. 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.
    9. Philip S. Babcock & John L. Hartman, 2010. "Networks and Workouts: Treatment Size and Status Specific Peer Effects in a Randomized Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 16581, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Fricke, Hans & Lechner, Michael & Steinmayr, Andreas, 2017. "The Effect of Physical Activity on Student Performance in College: An Experimental Evaluation," CEPR Discussion Papers 12052, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Itzik Fadlon & Torben Heien Nielsen, 2017. "Family Health Behaviors," NBER Working Papers 24042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Carrera, Mariana & Royer, Heather & Stehr, Mark & Syndor, Justin, 2017. "Can Financial Incentives Help People Trying to Establish New Habits? Experimental Evidence with New Gym Members," IZA Discussion Papers 10874, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Cappelen, Alexander W & Charness, Gary & Ekström, Mathias & Gneezy, Uri & Tungodden, Bertil, 2017. "Exercise Improves Academic Performance," Working Paper Series 1180, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    5. Mariana Carrera & Heather Royer & Mark Stehr & Justin Sydnor, 2017. "Can Financial Incentives Help People Trying to Establish New Habits? Experimental Evidence with New Gym Members," NBER Working Papers 23567, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23188. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: () or (Joanne Lustig). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.