Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics News Archive

You are viewing 13 posts with the tag Katherine Milkman

CHIBE Behavioral Economics Symposium Closes Seven-Year Research Program

Source: LDI eMagazine, January 3, 2017

The University of Pennsylvania LDI Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics' 2016 Behavioral Economics and Health Symposium was both a spotlight on the latest research work as well as the conclusion of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Donaghue Foundation funded program that began seven years ago. CHIBE played a lead role in the initiative whose goal was to explore the ways behavioral economics principles might be applied to health-related behaviors.

Using Science to Make Good Health Choices

Source: NPR. July 7, 2016

NPR health news featured research that can raise the odds of making positive behavior changes. Kevin Volpp discusses the use of commitment contracts and Katherine Milkman's "temptation bundling" concept was also mentioned.

Using "Temptation Bundling" to Build Better Habits

Source:, September 28, 2014

A article refers to Katherine Milkman's research on temptation bundling in an article about building better habits. Her research showed that students who were only permitted to listen to a selected "sticky" novel at the gym exercised more than the control group and the group that was allowed to listen to their selected novel when they exercised at home as well. Milkman describes this as harnessing a bad habit and using its motivational power for good.

How the Fresh-Start Effect Creates a Clean Slate

Source: strategy+business, September 16, 2014

Strategy+business recently conducted a video interview with Wharton Professor Katherine Milkman about motivating people to achieve their goals. The key to achieving our goals throughout the year, shes says, is leveraging fresh starts--moments when we wipe the slate clean and are motivated to work harder. 

Why Fresh Starts Matter

Source: Strategy+Business, August 8, 2014

Wharton Professor and CHIBE faculty member Katherine Milkman recently spoke with strategy+business about her research on the "fresh start effect" with Hengchen Dai and Jason Riis.

Biases Found In Faculty Mentoring

Sources: New York TimesNPR, Scientific American, Washington Post,, Inside Higher Ed,, The Wire, LDI News, April 29, 2014

A recent study conducted by Wharton Assistant Professor Katherine Milkman found that academic departments linked to more lucrative professions are more likely to discriminate against women and minorities than faculty in fields linked to less lucrative jobs. Milkman noted that " business academia, we see a 25 percentage point gap in the response rate to Caucasian males vs. women and minorities."

The Fresh Start Effect

Source: Knowledge@Wharton, January 6, 2014; The Daily Pennsylvanian, January 16, 2014; ThinkAdvisor, January 27, 2014

Wharton researchers Hengchen Dai, Katherine Milkman and Jason Riis found that "fresh starts" demarcated by temporal landmarks, such as a birthday, the beginning of a school semester, or even next Monday, cause people to be more effective at setting goals and increasing their chances of achieving them. Now that they have demonstrated the existence of this "fresh start effect," Hengchen Dai notes "the next step is to determine how we can induce fresh starts in the workplace." 

Keeping New Year's Resolutions

Source: New York Times, January 3, 2014

In a New York Times "Gray Matter" commentary,  Kevin Volpp and Katherine Milkman provide behavioral economics-based insights into how consumers can better keep their New Year's resolutions. These insights are based on their own research and include "making a plan," using financially-based commitment devices, "temptation bundling" and mentor support systems.

Using ‘The Hunger Games’ to Encourage Healthier Choices

Source: Knowledge@Wharton, November 19, 2013;, November 22, 2013

Katherine Milkman's recent research evaluates a concept she coined as "temptation bundling." The study coupled listening to audio books such as "The Hunger Games" with going to the gym and found that  “attendance rates increased meaningfully and significantly with access to the temptation bundling program, suggesting that temptation bundling creates value.” Kevin Volpp adds that further research could also look at how employers and insurers can use temptation bundling as a way to encourage healthier living.

New Technologies for Weight Loss Programs

Source: Knowledge @ Wharton, October 4, 2013

Traditional weight loss programs are facing stiff competition from programs and mobile apps that embrace newer technologies. Katie Milkman's research helps explain the popularity of these mobile apps by demonstrating how people can "get hooked" on healthy habits when they are paired with an engaging activity such as listening to a thrilling audio book. Kevin Volpp adds that many people still like the format of the traditional weight loss programs, so their challenge is to "morph their business model in ways that allow them to retain their core customer base while at the same time attract customers for whom the new [technologies] are appealing." 

Converting Intention into Action: Prompting People to Write Down the Date and Time They Planned to Get a Flu Vaccine Increased Vaccination Rates

Source: NIH Press Release, June 13 2011,  PNAS Article April 29, 2011

Katherine Milkman and colleagues analyzed the effects of 3 different flu vaccination reminder mailings sent to employees of a large firm. The overall vaccination rate among study participants in the control group, who received a mailed reminder about a free on-site vaccination clinic, was 33.1 percent. The rate among those who received the same reminder plus a prompt to record the date of the clinic increased by 1.5 percentage points relative to the control group. Those who received the reminder with a prompt to record the date and time had a 4.2 percentage point increase in vaccination rates relative to the control group. Richard Suzman, director of the National Institute on Aging's Division of Behavioral and Social Research, stated, “In this study, the research expands the application of behavioral economics to the health care setting, focusing on individual models of decision-making and resulting in a meaningful improvement at zero cost. It suggests that making a very concrete plan to take a particular action can help turn the intention into action.”

Fairness, Effectiveness, and the Likelihood of States Levying Fines on Medicaid Recipients Who Smoke or Are Obese

Katherine Milkman and Kevin Volpp have slightly different perspectives on whether an Arizona proposal to penalize Medicaid recipients who are obese or smoke with a $50 fine is fair or potentially effective, but both agree that something like it could be enacted. 

Ice Cream Now, Broccoli Later

Katherine Milkman's research exploring online consumer grocery purchasing habits reveals that generally, the sooner people took delivery of their groceries, the less healthy and more expensive the order and that orders placed for delivery farther in the future contained more healthy items and cost less. "Spending decreases as we order food further in the future, but the more immediate the gratification, the more freely we spend," says Milkman.