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Changing health behaviors using financial incentives: a review from behavioral economics

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Title: Changing health behaviors using financial incentives: a review from behavioral economics
Authors: Vlaev, I
King, D
Darzi, A
Dolan, P
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Background Incentives are central to economics and are used across the public and private sectors to influence behavior. Recent interest has been shown in using financial incentives to promote desirable health behaviors and discourage unhealthy ones. Main text If we are going to use incentive schemes to influence health behaviors, then it is important that we give them the best chance of working. Behavioral economics integrates insights from psychology with the laws of economics and provides a number of robust psychological phenomena that help to better explain human behavior. Individuals’ decisions in relation to incentives may be shaped by more subtle features – such as loss aversion, overweighting of small probabilities, hyperbolic discounting, increasing payoffs, reference points – many of which have been identified through research in behavioral economics. If incentives are shown to be a useful strategy to influence health behavior, a wider discussion will need to be had about the ethical dimensions of incentives before their wider implementation in different health programmes. Conclusions Policy makers across the world are increasingly taking note of lessons from behavioral economics and this paper explores how key principles could help public health practitioners design effective interventions both in relation to incentive designs and more widely.
Issue Date: 7-Aug-2019
Date of Acceptance: 31-Jul-2019
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/72941
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-7407-8
ISSN: 1471-2458
Publisher: BioMed Central
Journal / Book Title: BMC Public Health
Volume: 19
Issue: 1
Copyright Statement: © The Author(s). 2019 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Sponsor/Funder: National Institute of Health Research
Keywords: Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Public, Environmental & Occupational Health
Behavior change
Healthcare
Incentives
Behavioral economics
Nudge
PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
PAY
ACCEPTABILITY
PERFORMANCE
CONSUMPTION
OUTCOMES
IMPACT
ETHICS
WORKS
CARE
Behavior change
Behavioral economics
Healthcare
Incentives
Nudge
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Public, Environmental & Occupational Health
Behavior change
Healthcare
Incentives
Behavioral economics
Nudge
PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
PAY
ACCEPTABILITY
PERFORMANCE
CONSUMPTION
OUTCOMES
IMPACT
ETHICS
WORKS
CARE
1117 Public Health and Health Services
Public Health
Publication Status: Published
Article Number: ARTN 1059
Online Publication Date: 2019-08-07
Appears in Collections:Department of Surgery and Cancer
Institute of Global Health Innovation