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The behavioralist as nutritionist: Leveraging behavioral economics to improve child food choice and consumption

John List () and Anya Samek

Journal of Health Economics, 2015, vol. 39, issue C, 135-146

Abstract: We leverage behavioral economics to explore new approaches to tackling child food choice and consumption. Using a field experiment with >1500 children, we report several key insights. We find that incentives have large influences: in the control, 17% of children prefer the healthy snack, whereas introduction of small incentives increases take-up of the healthy snack to ∼75%. There is some evidence that the effects continue post-treatment, consistent with a model of habit formation. We find little evidence that the framing of incentives (loss vs. gain) matters. Educational messaging alone has little effect, but we observe a combined effect of messaging and incentives: together they provide an important influence on food choice.

Keywords: Field experiment; Food choice; Child behavior; Incentives; Educational messages (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C72 C91 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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Related works:
Working Paper: The Behavioralist as Nutritionist: Leveraging Behavioral Economics to Improve Child Food Choice and Consumption (2014) Downloads
Working Paper: The Behavioralist as Nutritionist: Leveraging Behavioral Economics To Improve Child Food Choice and Consumption (2014) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:39:y:2015:i:c:p:135-146

DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2014.11.002

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Journal of Health Economics is currently edited by J. P. Newhouse, A. J. Culyer, R. Frank, K. Claxton and T. McGuire

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