Behavioral Food Subsidies
59 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2019
Date Written: September 11, 2019
We examine the potential of healthy food subsidies for reducing nutritional inequality through demand-side interventions. Using a pre-registered field experiment with low-income grocery shoppers, we show that low-cost, scalable behavioral interventions make subsidies substantially more effective. Our unique design allows us to elicit choices and deliver subsidies both before and during a shopping trip. We examine two novel interventions: giving shoppers greater agency through a choice between subsidies and introducing waiting periods designed to prompt deliberation about food purchases. The interventions increase healthy purchases by 61% relative to choiceless healthy subsidies, and 199% relative to a control group.
Keywords: agency, deliberation, nutrition, choice architecture, waiting periods, field experiment, behavioral economics
JEL Classification: D9, D12, C93
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation