Parts Greater Than Their Sum: Randomized Controlled Trial Testing Partitioned Incentives to Increase Cancer Screening

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

13 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2018 Last revised: 2 May 2019

See all articles by Claudia Nisa

Claudia Nisa

New York University (NYU) - New York University, Abu Dhabi

Jocelyn J. Bélanger

New York University (NYU) - New York University, Abu Dhabi

Birga Schumpe

New York University (NYU) - New York University, Abu Dhabi

Date Written: September 25, 2018

Abstract

We present a simple behavioral strategy based on Prospect Theory that maximizes the impact of financial incentives with no additional cost. We show how the partition of a single incentive into two smaller incentives of equivalent total amount produces substantial behavioral changes, here demonstrated in the context of colorectal cancer screening. In a randomized controlled trial, eligible patients aged 50-74 (N=1652 patients) were allocated to receive either one EUR10 incentive (upon completion of screening) or two EUR5 incentives (at the beginning and at the end of screening). We show that cancer screening rates were dramatically increased by partitioning the financial incentive (61.1%), compared to offering a single installment at the end (41.4%). These results support the hedonic editing hypothesis from Prospect Theory and underline the importance of implementing theoretically grounded healthcare interventions. Our results suggest that, when patient incentives are feasible, they should not be offered at once, but rather healthcare procedures should be framed as multistage events with smaller incentives offered at multiple points in time.

Suggested Citation

Nisa, Claudia and Bélanger, Jocelyn J. and Schumpe, Birga, Parts Greater Than Their Sum: Randomized Controlled Trial Testing Partitioned Incentives to Increase Cancer Screening (September 25, 2018). Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3254985 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3254985

Claudia Nisa (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - New York University, Abu Dhabi ( email )

United Arab Emirates

Jocelyn J. Bélanger

New York University (NYU) - New York University, Abu Dhabi

PO Box 129188
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

Birga Schumpe

New York University (NYU) - New York University, Abu Dhabi ( email )

United Arab Emirates

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