Incentives and Children's Dietary Choices: A Field Experiment in Primary Schools

65 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2015

See all articles by Michèle Belot

Michèle Belot

University of Oxford - Nuffield College of Medicine

Jonathan James

University of Bath

Patrick J. Nolen

University of Essex; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

We conduct a field experiment in 31 primary schools in England to test the effectiveness of different temporary incentive schemes, an individual based incentive scheme and a competitive scheme, on increasing the choice and consumption of fruit and vegetables at lunchtime. The individual scheme has a weak positive effect whereas all pupils respond to positively to the competitive scheme. For our sample of interest, the competitive scheme increases choice of fruit and vegetables by 33% and consumption of fruit and vegetables by 48%, twice and three times as much as the individual incentive scheme, respectively. The positive effects generally carry over to the week immediately following the treatment but we find little evidence of any effects six months later. Our results show that incentives can work, at least temporarily, to increase healthy eating but there are large differences in effectiveness between schemes and across demographics such as age and gender.

Keywords: incentives, health, habits, child nutrition, field experiments

JEL Classification: J13, I18, I28, H51, H52

Suggested Citation

Belot, Michèle V. K. and James, Jonathan and Nolen, Patrick J., Incentives and Children's Dietary Choices: A Field Experiment in Primary Schools. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9424, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2675481

Michèle V. K. Belot (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Nuffield College of Medicine ( email )

New Road
Oxford, OX1 1NF
United Kingdom

Jonathan James

University of Bath

Claverton Down
Bath, BA2 7AY
United Kingdom

Patrick J. Nolen

University of Essex ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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

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