Behavioral Economics / Behavior Change

The application of principles of economics and psychology to examine how individuals make choices in complex contexts--such as personal finances and health--and to improve these decisions and behaviors.

Move It Or Lose It

Feb. 16, 2016

The latest study by LDI Senior Fellow Mitesh Patel and colleagues adds to our growing understanding of how best to frame financial incentives to encourage healthy behaviors, and employer wellness managers should take note.

Effect of Financial Incentives to Physicians, Patients, or Both on Lipid Levels: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Research Brief
Jan. 15, 2016

To whom should financial incentives be targeted to achieve a desired clinical or health outcome—physicians or patients? Using insight from behavioral economics, a research team led by LDI Senior Fellows David Asch and Kevin Volpp sought to determine whether physician financial incentives, patient incentives, or shared physician and patient incentives are more effective in promoting medication adherence and reducing cholesterol levels of patients at high risk for cardiovascular disease. Though physician and patient incentives are becoming more common, they are rarely combined, and effectiveness of these approaches is not well-established. This study offers insight into what incentive structure leads to the greatest impact on health promotion. 

Employers Take Note: Premium-Based Incentives For Weight Loss Don't Work

Jan. 5, 2016

A new study casts doubt on the effectiveness of reducing health insurance premiums as a way to encourage employees to lose weight. LDI Senior Fellow Mitesh Patel and his team, in a randomized controlled trial, test the effectiveness of a $550 incentive in promoting weight loss in obese employees. They found no difference in weight loss over the course of one year between the control group and three different kinds of incentive programs.

Mapping Activity Patterns to Quantify Risk of Violent Assault in Urban Environments

Dec. 18, 2015

Douglas Wiebe, Therese Richmond, Wensheng Guo, Paul Allison, Judd Hollander, Michael Nance, Charles Branas

In Epidemiology, Douglas Wiebe and colleagues, including Therese Richmond and Charles Branas, investigated the interplay between urban youth’s lived experiences, time spent in different environments, and risk of violent assault. The researchers mapped activity paths of 10- to 24-year olds, comparing community controls, emergency department patients assaulted with a firearm, and patients assaulted with another type of weapon. Through interviews, the investigators created a record of how, when, where and with whom subjects spent time over a full day. Tracing back activities through...

Simulated Driving Assessment (SDA) for teen drivers: results from a validation study

Oct. 22, 2015

Catherine McDonald, Venk Kandadai, Helen Loeb, Thomas Seacrist, Yi-Ching Lee, Zachary Winston, Flaura Winston

In Injury Prevention, Catherine McDonald and colleagues, including Flaura Winston, evaluate the construct and criterion validity of the Simulated Driving Assessment (SDA). The SDA is a newly developed tool for novice teen drivers that incorporates 22 variations of the most common teen driver crashes. The authors compared the driving performance of inexperienced teens with experienced adult drivers.  Their analysis shows a higher error score in teens than in adults, and that the error score derived from the SDA correlates with the score from a professional driving instructor. The...

Carrots and Sticks: Achieving High Healthcare Personnel Influenza Vaccination Rates without a Mandate

Oct. 22, 2015

Marci Dreesa, Kathleen Wrotena, Mary Smedley, Tabe Masea, J. Sanford Schwartz

In Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, Marci Drees and colleagues, including J. Sanford Schwartz, evaluate the efficacy of implementing a multimodal campaign to increase influenza vaccination among healthcare personnel (HCP) without a mandate. The authors implemented an integrated multimodal approach incorporating peer pressure, accountability, and financial incentives to improve the HCP influenza vaccination rate. Employee compliance, vaccination, exemption and declination rates were compared with those of the seasons prior to the intervention. The authors find that...

Getting More Food-Allergic Young Adults To Carry Their Epinephrine: A Behavioral Economics Approach

Sep. 3, 2015

As one of the estimated 2.5% of Americans with a food allergy, deciding my next meal, snack, or even beverage is no simple task. Remembering to carry emergency epinephrine is also no walk in the park. Young adults like me are particularly vulnerable to error related to their food allergies and likely to engage in risky behavior. And despite the risk of death by anaphylaxis, few individuals with severe food allergies carry their emergency epinephrine on a daily basis.

It's All in the Presentation

Aug. 17, 2015

In the beginning (Web Site 1.0), we measured the success of health insurance marketplace sites by whether they worked. Last year (Web Site 2.0), technical glitches were resolved, and we can start to measure success by whether the sites help people make the best decisions in choosing a health plan.

Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Related Public Service Advertisements and Their Influence on Parents

Jul. 23, 2015

Amy Jordan, Amy Bleakley, Michael Hennessy, Sarah Vaala, Karen Glanz, Andrew Strasser

Cross-posted from the UPenn Prevention Research Center

In American Behavioral Scientist, Amy Jordan and colleagues, including Karen Glanz, use a novel experimental approach to identify the effectiveness of distinct persuasive strategies used in audiovisual (television-format) public service advertisements (PSAs) designed to encourage parents to reduce their children’s sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB)...

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