Small Cash Rewards for Big Losers – Experimental Insights into the Fight Against the Obesity Epidemic

40 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2015

See all articles by Boris Augurzky

Boris Augurzky

Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI-Essen); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Thomas K. Bauer

Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI-Essen); University of Bochum - Faculty of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Arndt R. Reichert

World Bank; Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI-Essen)

Christoph M. Schmidt

RWI - Leibniz-Insitut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI Essen); Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Harald Tauchmann

Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI-Essen)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 17, 2014

Abstract

We complement the empirical evidence on the sustainability of weight loss achieved through cash rewards and, for the first time, rigorously examine the potential of cash rewards to prevent weight cycling. In a three period randomized controlled trial, about 700 obese persons were first assigned to two treatment groups, which were promised cash contingent on the achievement of an individually assigned target weight, and to a control group. Successful participants were subsequently allocated to two treatment groups offered cash rewards for confirming the previously achieved target weight and to a control group. This is the first experiment of this kind that finds effects of weight loss rewards up to 18 months after they were removed. Additional rewards only significantly improve the sustainability of weight loss while they are in place.

Keywords: field experiment; weight cycling; sustainability; incentives

JEL Classification: I12, I18, D03, C93

Suggested Citation

Augurzky, Boris and Bauer, Thomas K. and Reichert, Arndt Rudiger and Schmidt, Christoph M. and Tauchmann, Harald, Small Cash Rewards for Big Losers – Experimental Insights into the Fight Against the Obesity Epidemic (December 17, 2014). Ruhr Economic Paper No. 530, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2566245 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2566245

Boris Augurzky

Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI-Essen) ( email )

45128 Essen
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Thomas K. Bauer (Contact Author)

Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI-Essen) ( email )

Hohenzollernstr. 1-3
Essen, 45128
Germany
+49 201 8149 264 (Phone)
+49 201 8149 284 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.rwi-essen.de

University of Bochum - Faculty of Economics ( email )

Universitätsstraße 150
Gebäude GC, Ebene 3, Raum 58
D-44780 Bochum
Germany
+02 34 32 28341 (Phone)
+02 34 32 14273 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/empwifo/

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany
+49 228 38 94 529 (Phone)
+49 228 38 94 510 (Fax)

Arndt Rudiger Reichert

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI-Essen) ( email )

Hohenzollernstr. 1-3
Essen, 45128
Germany

Christoph M. Schmidt

RWI - Leibniz-Insitut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI Essen) ( email )

Hohenzollernstraße 1-3
Essen, 45128
Germany
++49 201 8149-227 (Phone)
++49 201 8149-236 (Fax)

Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB)

GC 2/150
Universitätsstr. 150
D-44780 Bochum
Germany

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Harald Tauchmann

Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI-Essen) ( email )

Hohenzollernstr. 1-3
45128 Essen
Germany

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