Learning How Behavioral Economics Impacts Health Decisions

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Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics Research

CHIBE researchers apply concepts from the field of behavioral economics to design, implement, and evaluate interventions that improve health and build knowledge about efficacy, cost and effectiveness. 

Basic Science Core Request for Applications

The Basic Science Core aims to support laboratory or low-cost field studies that will shed light on mechanisms that can generate behavior change.  In contrast to previous large-scale field studies, which have often combined multiple mechanisms into one intervention in order to maximize impact on behavior, basic science projects supported by the Core focus on disentangling and precisely identifying the impacts of individual mechanisms.  CHIBE researchers interested in applying for project support can click here for more information.



Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics Research Studies

You are viewing 48 posts by the author Normal Admin

Using Implementation Intentions Prompts to Enhance Influenza Vaccination Rates

Principal Investigator:  Milkman

The purpose of this study was to test the association between behavioral nudges and rate of flu shot vaccination among older employees at a large firm.  The results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences June 13, 2011.  The researchers found that those who received a reminder mailing and were prompted to write down the date and time they planned to get a flu shot had a 4.2 percentage point higher vaccination rate than those who just received a reminder in the mail.

Funder:  Roybal Center for Behavior Change in Health and Savings at the National Bureau of Economic Research

Behavioral Economics and Aging

Principal Investigator: Karlawish 

This line of research is examining the implications of the psychology and neurology of aging on theories of behavioral economics with attention to the clinical, ethical and policy issues.

Payments to Physicians

Principal Investigator: Abrams 

There is concern in the medical community that payments to physicians by pharmaceutical companies may distort prescribing behavior, whether through a conscious or unconscious mechanism. By combining a proprietary dataset covering 80 million individual prescriptions with payment data collected by state agencies the goal of this research is to produce the first empirical estimates of the relationship between pharma payments and prescription choice.

Funder: LDI CHIBE Pilot Project

Financial Incentives in Surveys of Healthcare Providers: Lotteries versus Guaranteed Payments

Principal Investigators: Halpern / Volpp 

Co-investigator:  Asch

This study will evaluate the relative efficacy of guaranteed payments (either up-front or conditional on response) vs. lotteries (in which respondents are entered into a random drawing for a larger reward) in increasing healthcare provider response to surveys. This study comprises 3 independent randomized trials of actuarially equivalent payments and lotteries.

Funded by: Greenwall Foundation and University of Pennsylvania, LDI CHIBE Pilot Project

Behavioral Economics of Privacy

Principal Investigators: Loewenstein / Acquisti / John 

Dominant theories proposed by economists and psychologists assume that people have stable, coherent, attitudes toward privacy, but this research has found that people are extremely inconsistent in their concern about privacy. A large number of field and laboratory studies have found that people are often protective of their privacy in situations in which there is no need to be, and even more often not concerned about privacy or even motivated to reveal information in situations in which caution would be warranted.

A Randomized Trial of Behavioral Economic Interventions to Reduce CVD Risk

Principal Investigators: Asch / Volpp 

Co-investigators:  Barg, Bellamy, Berger, Gaziano, Glick, Graf, Jones, Lafata, Loewenstein, Metlay, Rosenthal, Shea, Stewart, Troxel, Weiner, Weinstein

This project aims to test whether financial incentives and/or choice architecture improve the uptake of comparative effectiveness research findings related to reducing cardiovascular disease risk among physicians and patients.

Funded by: National Institutes of Health / National Institute on Aging

Developing Interactive Technologies to Improve Research and Health Behavior

Principal Investigators: Asch / Volpp

Co-investigators:  Bellamy, Halpern, Glanz, Goldberg, Groeneveld, Karlawish, Kimmel, Kuna, Loewenstein, Rozin, Shea, Troxel, Zauberman

David A. Asch, MD, MBA and Kevin G. Volpp, MD, PhD are developing IT infrastructure that will deploy clinical and behavioral research studies to advance the science at the intersection of behavioral economics and health.  The project is called Way to Health. For more information see: waytohealth.org

Funded by: National Institutes of Health / National Institute on Aging

Behavioral Economic Approaches to Dietary Control

Principal Investigators: Loewenstein / Volpp / Asch

George Loewenstein, PhD is leading a team in pilot studies to explore different ways of encouraging consumption of healthier food items by framing caloric content using various formats.

 Funded by: Aramark

Randomized Trial of Healthy Eating Interventions

Principal Investigators:  Saulsgiver / Halpern

Co-investigators:  Stearman

This pilot study examines the effectiveness and feasibility of an intervention for promoting increased consumption of fruits and vegetables by incenting their purchase where the overwhelming majority of food is sold: grocery stores.  Two incentive designs are compared.

Funded by:  National Institutes of Health / National Institute on Aging

Can Tying Tempting Experiences with Gym Visits Increase Exercise and Improve Health?

Principal Investigator:  Milkman

People intend to exercise and diet later but frequently lack the necessary willpower to act on those good intentions.  Tying devices offer a new method for motivating people to engage in a healthy behavior by linking this behavior to an addictive activity, such as watching television.  This pilot study tests whether a tying device in a gym setting can help people to develop good exercise habits.

Funded by:  National Institutes of Health / National Institute on Aging

Can Calorie Labels Increase Caloric Intake?

Principal Investigator:  Loewenstein

Research on the effectiveness of calorie and nutrition labeling of food in propelling individuals toward healthier food choices has revealed weak and inconsistent findings.  Four potential mechanisms to induce perverse effects -- causing people to increase calorie intake -- are tested in this pilot study.

Funded by:  National Institutes of Health / National Institute on Aging

The Effects of 24-hour Intensivist Coverage in the Medical ICU

Principal Investigator:  Halpern

Available evidence suggests intensivist management of critically ill patients improves patient outcomes.  The objective of this study is to evaluate the comparative effectiveness and cost effectiveness of nocturnal staffing with and without intensivist coverage in a large academic medical hospital's medical ICU.

Funded by:  National Institutes of Health / National Institute on Aging

Attitudes on Wellness Incentives: Carrots and Sticks

Principal Investigators:  Schmidt / Volpp

Provisions included in the 2010 health reforms substantially increased the permissible levels of wellness incentives paid by employers.  This pilot study tests public attitudes towards different ways of implementing financial incentives in the workplace to build evidence regarding how such programs would be perceived by employees.

Funded by:  National Institutes of Health / National Institute on Aging

New York State Medicaid Incentives for the Prevention of Chronic Disease Demonstration Project

Principal Investigator:  Volpp

Co-investigators:  Chernew, Loewenstein, Saulsgiver, Troxel

CHIBE is collaborating with the New York State Health Department to design, implement and evaluate multiple financial incentive interventions to reduce smoking, improve diabetes management and blood pressure control in the state's Medicaid population.  This is one of 10 demonstration projects in states across the U.S. being funded under a mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Funder:  Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Tags: Kevin Volpp

New Ways to Increase Patient Understanding of Diabetes Control and Disease Severity

Principal Investigators: Gopalan / Volpp

Patients with diabetes mellitus can find it hard to understand their lab test results related to glycemic control, and thus many are not fully aware of how well they are keeping their diabetes under control. The goal of this pilot study is to examine ways to make provider feedback about glycemic control and severity of diabetes based on individual blood sugar levels easier for patients to understand.  Two different formats for the design of a "diabetes report card" will be evaluated.

Funder:  CHIBE Pilot Study

Making Calories Count: Information Format and Food Choice

Principal Investigators:  Downs / Loewenstein

Government policy aimed at promoting healthy eating habits has tended toward strategies based on information provision, though there is little evidence that this strategy is maximally effective. This pilot study involves a cross-sectional test of the impact of calorie labeling and a heuristic cue on customers' choice of lunch item on-site at a chain restaurant, as well as a cohort study which assesses lunch item choices over time based on real-time nutritional feedback.

Funder:  National Institute on Aging

Helping People to Exercise Regularly

Principal Investigators: Hafalir / Xiao 

Regular gym visits might prevent health problems that occur later in life, but many people find it hard to maintain a commitment to attend regularly. Pre-commitment devices are one possible tool which could help sustain commitment to healthy behavior. This project seeks to improve methods for helping older individuals exercise regularly. 

Using Technology to Promote Mental Acuity

Principal Investigator:  Loewenstein

A rapidly aging population is faced with a growing number of technological advances which offer to improve quality of life and health, but many of these may seem inaccessible to those with little exposure to them. This pilot study is testing interventions involving financial incentives to encourage senior citizens to engage in long term use of technologies which promote health and wellness, specifically, computer programs designed to improve memory and mental acuity.

Funder:  National Institute on Aging

A Randomized Trial of Incentives and Peer Mentors to Improve Diabetic Outcomes

Principal Investigator:  Long

Co-investigators:  Ferguson, Glick, Loewenstein, Small, Volpp, Weiner

One-on-one peer mentoring and financial incentives are being compared as interventions which might address some of the barriers to effective disease management common among patients with diabetes.  If effective, these interventions could provide important models for improving glucose control in general and, in particular, for addressing racial disparities in diabetes outcomes.

Funder:  National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Psychological Drivers of Word-Of-Mouth and Social Transmission

Principle Investigator: Berger

Why are some products talked about more than others? What makes certain online content viral? This project examines characteristics of products, brands, and information that make them more likely to be passed along. 

Tags: Jonah Berger