Can Simple Psychological Interventions Increase Preventive Health Investment?

75 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2019

See all articles by Johannes Haushofer

Johannes Haushofer

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

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. 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)

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
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

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