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Incentives, Commitments and Habit Formation in Exercise: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Workers at a Fortune-500 Company

Heather Royer, Mark Stehr and Justin R. Sydnor

No 18580, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: Financial incentives have been shown to have strong positive short‐run effects for problematic health behaviors, but the effects often disappear once incentive programs end. This paper analyzes the results of a large‐scale workplace field experiment to examine whether self‐funded commitment contracts improve the long‐run effects of incentive programs. Consistent with existing findings, workers responded strongly to an incentive targeting use of the company gym, but long‐run effects were modest, at best. However, workers in the treatment arm that combined the incentive program with a commitment contract option showed long‐lasting behavioral changes, persisting even 1 year after the incentive ended.

JEL-codes: D03 D9 I1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe and nep-exp
Note: EH
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (50)

Published as Royer, Heather, Mark Stehr, and 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, 7(3): 51-84. DOI: 10.1257/app.20130327

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