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Incentivizing Healthy Eating in Children: An Investigation of the “Ripple” and “Temporal” Effects of Reward-Based Interventions

Saied Toossi ()
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Saied Toossi: Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University, 426 Eggers Hall, Syracuse, NY 13244, https://www.maxwell.syr.edu/cpr/

No 193, Center for Policy Research Working Papers from Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University

Abstract: Although previous studies have established the effectiveness of using small reward-based incentives in inducing the choice and consumption of healthier foods among children, little is known about their impact outside of experimental settings or their effectiveness over time when administered daily. This paper presents the results of a field experiment conducted to provide insight on these matters. The study employs a pretest-posttest within-subject design and was conducted at a summer program catering to low-income children between the ages of 5 and 12. Corroborating existing studies, the introduction of small reward-based incentives was found to induce large increases in the number of children choosing the healthy dessert options after lunch but disaggregating the results by week and days suggests that their impact diminishes over time. Attempts to ascertain their effect outside of experimental settings did not indicate that the introduction of rewards had any adverse effects, but also did not provide definitive results. Consequently, further research is needed in this regard

Keywords: Field Experiment; Food Choice; Child Behavior; Incentives; Temporal Effects; Ripple Effects; Nutrition (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 C93 I12 J13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 43 pages
Date: 2016-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp and nep-hea
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:max:cprwps:193

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