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.

Placement and Promotion Strategies to Increase Sales of Healthier Products in Supermarkets in Low-Income, Ethnically Diverse Neighborhoods: a Randomized Controlled Trial

Apr. 2, 2014

Gary D. Foster, Allison Karpyn, Alexis C. Wojtanowski, Erica Davis, Stephanie Weiss, Colleen Brensinger, Ann Tierney, Wensheng Guo, Jeffery Brown, Carly Spross, Donna Leuchten, Patrick J. Burns, Karen Glanz

In The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Karen Glanz and colleagues assess the effects of in-store marketing strategies that promote the purchase of a specific healthier food item. Through a cluster-randomized control trial, the authors compare the weekly sales of targeted products - milk, ready-to-eat cereal, frozen meals, in-aisle beverages, and checkout cooler beverages - for supermarkets that received a six-month, in-store, marketing intervention, with those that did not. The intervention, provided to four randomly assigned stores in low-income, high-minority areas,...

What Economics and Addiction Science Tell Us About Smoking

Dec. 9, 2013

(cross-posted with the Scattergood Foundation)

Last month, the American Cancer Society sponsored the 38th annual “Great American Smokeout,” the day smokers are encouraged to quit, or make a plan to quit. This and many other efforts have convinced millions of smokers to quit; still, 18% of adults in the U.S. smoke. This seems an opportune time to consider the economics of smoking and the science of nicotine addiction.

Will Smokers Pay 50% More for Premiums on The Exchanges?

Nov. 6, 2013

A question arose on Twitter yesterday about the ACA’s provisions for surcharging tobacco users (h/t @onceuponA and @Prof_Richardson). That led me to a deeper dive into the regulations for implementing this part of the ACA. Here are a few questions, answers, and comments:

1.       What is the surcharge? 

Learning from Massachusetts: Standardization in the Health Insurance Marketplace

Oct. 24, 2013

Insurance is a complex product, and choosing among different plans is a complex decision. As states and the federal government roll out health insurance exchanges, “choice architecture”—how options are presented—will affect what consumers choose. According to LDI Senior Fellow Amanda Starc, standardizing plans and information about plans can help consumers make better decisions.

Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxes and Beyond

Oct. 15, 2013

By the 2014 election, groups on both sides of the ACA debate will have spent close to $1 billion on advertising, with little change in public opinion. Sarah Gollust thinks she knows why, from her research on the messaging surrounding sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes.

Hospitals' Smoker Non-Hiring Debate

Aug. 6, 2013

The recent debate about the ethics of a health system's decision to refuse to hire new workers who smoke was understandably couched in the framework of ethics. But hiring a worker -- buying labor -- is an economic transaction that occurs in a market, and so it may be useful to discuss the economic framework as well.

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