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Katherine Milkman

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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 7 posts with the tag Katherine Milkman

Creating Exercise Habits through Incentives

Principal Investigator: Katherine Milkman, PhD

This research project will conduct a randomized controlled trial to test the impact of an intervention designed to increase gym attendance and improve health outcomes related to obesity. This project consists of performing a large-scale field experiment at a Fortune-500 company to determine whether healthy habits can be formed more effectively when consumers are rewarded for repeated engagement in a given healthy behavior at a specific, routinized time each day rather than at any time.

Funder: NIA/NIH

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

The Fresh Start Effect: Temporal Landmarks Motivate Healthy Behaviors

Principal Investigators: Katherine Milkman, PhD; Jason Riis, PhD; Hengchen Dai

This project will determine what types of life transition and calendar events or temporal landmarks are most likely to motivate healthy behaviors and how to leverage these temporal landmarks to enhance peoples’ engagement in healthy activities.

Funder: NIA Penn Roybal Center on Behavioral Economics and Health

A Day in The Saddle Can Take Its Toll

Principal Investigators: Hengchen Dai, Katherine L. Milkman, Dave Hoffman and Bradley R. Staats

Using longitudinal field observations of over 4,157 caregivers’ in the healthcare industry whose compliance with hand hygiene guidelines was recorded in 35 hospitals on 13.7 million separate occasions, this study tests the hypothesis that the impact of job demands can accumulate quickly – even within the course of a single day. 

The Fresh Start Effect: Breaking Points in Life Motivate Virtuous Behavior

Principal Investigators: Hengchen Dai, Katherine Milkman, Jason Riis

The popularity of New Year’s resolutions suggests that people are more likely to tackle their goals immediately following salient temporal landmarks. We show that Google searches for the term “diet”, gym visits, and commitments to pursue goals all increase following temporal landmarks (e.g., the outset of a new week, month, year, or semester; a birthday; a holiday).

Funder: The Penn Patient Engagement and Communications Small Grants Program (PECO)

Effectiveness of Targeted Health Reminders

Principal Investigators: Jonathan Kolstad, Katherine Milkman

This Penn-CMU Roybal Center on Behavioral Economics and Health pilot project aims to assess the relative effectiveness of targeted health reminders. The study will test whether targeted reminder mailings encouraging engagement in various health measures systematically increase individual take-up of a recommended health behavior and whether encouraging engagement in preventative health measures using these reminders leads to improved health and/or lower health costs down the road.

Funder: 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