Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics News Archive

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Importance of Behavioral Economics to Informing Public Policy

Source: New York Times, January 10, 2013

In a recent op-ed by New York Times columnist David Brooks on the importance of behavioral economic approaches to informing public policy, work by CHIBE researchers Kevin Volpp, George Loewenstein and Leslie John in contributing to a recent the book on the behavioral foundations of public policy was highlighted with description of a  weight loss study we conducted that was published in JAMA in which people trying to lose weight were made eligible for daily sweepstakes and lost three times as much weight as those who were in a control group.

Deposit Contracts Motivate Weight Loss; but Once They End, Weight Returns

Source: Reuters, February 8, 2011

CHIBE researcher Leslie John was interviewed about a Journal of General Internal Medicine article describing a study she lead with co-investigators George Loewenstein, Andrea Troxel, Kevin Volpp and others that compared incentive-based weight loss interventions in obese U.S. veterans. According to John, "people respond more readily to the immediate threat of losing money compared to the distant threat of weight-related health problems." More research is needed to see if weight loss can be sustained over a longer period of time and if the intervention can be implemented in the real world.