Can Simple Psychological Interventions Increase Preventive Health Investment?

72 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2019

See all articles by Johannes Haushofer

Johannes Haushofer

Harvard University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)

Anett John

CREST-ENSAE

Kate Orkin

University of Oxford - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 2019

Abstract

Behavioral constraints may explain part of low demand for preventive health products. We test the effects of two light-touch psychological interventions on water chlorination and related health and economic outcomes using a randomized controlled trial among 3750 women in rural Kenya. One intervention encourages participants to visualize alternative realizations of the future; one builds participants' ability to make concrete plans to achieve goals. Both interventions include information on health benefits of chlorination. After twelve weeks, both interventions increase the share of households who chlorinate drinking water and reduce child diarrhea episodes. Analysis of mechanisms suggests both interventions increase self-efficacy – beliefs about one's ability to achieve desired outcomes – as well as the salience of chlorination. They do not differentially affect beliefs and knowledge about chlorination (compared to a group who receive only information), nor affect lab measures of time preferences or planning ability. Results suggest simple psychological interventions can increase use of preventive health technologies.

Suggested Citation

Haushofer, Johannes and John, Anett and Orkin, Kate, Can Simple Psychological Interventions Increase Preventive Health Investment? (April 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w25731. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3368021

Johannes Haushofer (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) ( email )

E53-379
30 Wadsworth St.
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

Anett John

CREST-ENSAE ( email )

15 Boulevard Gabriel Peri
Malakoff Cedex, 1 92245
France

HOME PAGE: http://www.anettjohn.com

Kate Orkin

University of Oxford - Department of Economics ( email )

10 Manor Rd
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 3UQ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/kateorkin/home

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
7
Abstract Views
24
PlumX Metrics