An evaluation of temptation bundling


Katherine Milkman, Julia Minson, and Kevin Volpp


We have conducted an experimental study to test the impact of an intervention designed to increase gym attendance and improve health outcomes related to obesity. With 68% of adult Americans overweight or obese as of 2008 and 112,000 deaths in the United States per year attributable to obesity, promoting weight loss is an urgent public health priority. Past research suggests that limited willpower plays an important role in decisions made by individuals that affect weight gain, such as healthy eating and exercise: people intend to exercise and diet later but frequently lack the necessary willpower to act on those good intentions. On the other hand, limited willpower makes it difficult for people to resist engaging in many highly tempting behaviors involving indulgences that induce regret after-the-fact (for a review, see Milkman, Rogers, & Bazerman (2008)).

In our research, we introduce and evaluate the effectiveness of temptation bundling – a method for simultaneously tackling two types of self-control problems by harnessing consumption complementarities.


Milkman, KL, Minson JA, Volpp K (forthcoming). “Holding the Hunger Games Hostage at the Gym: An Evaluation of Temptation Bundling.” Management Science. NIHMSID#540597br>