Can financial incentives help people trying to establish new habits? : experimental evidence with new gym members / Mariana Carrera (Case Western Reserve University), Heather Royer (University of California, Santa Barbara, IZA and NBER), Mark Stehr (Drexel University), Justin Sydnor (University of Wisconsin, Madison and NBER) ; IZA Institute of Labor Economics
VerfasserCarrera, Mariana ; Royer, Heather ; Stehr, Mark ; Sydnor, Justin
KörperschaftForschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit
ErschienenBonn, Germany : IZA Institute of Labor Economics, July 2017
Elektronische Ressource
Umfang1 Online-Ressource (32 Seiten) : Illustrationen, Diagramme
SerieDiscussion paper ; no. 10874
 Das Dokument ist öffentlich zugänglich im Rahmen des deutschen Urheberrechts.
Can financial incentives help people trying to establish new habits? [2.08 mb]
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We conducted a randomized controlled trial testing the effect of modest incentives to attend the gym among new members of a fitness facility, a population that is already engaged in trying to change a health behavior. Our experiment randomized 836 new members of a private gym into a control group, receiving a $30 payment unconditionally, or one of 3 incentive groups, receiving a payment if they attended the gym at least 9 times over their first 6 weeks as members. The incentives were a $30 payment, a $60 payment, and an item costing $30 that leveraged the endowment effect. These incentives had only moderate impacts on attendance during members' first 6 weeks and no effect on their subsequent visit trajectories. We document substantial overconfidence among new members about their likely visit rates and discuss how overconfidence may undermine the effectiveness of a modest incentive program.

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