NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Incentivizing Nutritious Diets: A Field Experiment of Relative Price Changes and How They are Framed

John Cawley, Andrew S. Hanks, David R. Just, Brian Wansink

NBER Working Paper No. 21929
Issued in January 2016
NBER Program(s):CH, HC, HE, PE

This paper examines how consumers respond to price incentives for nutritious relative to less-nutritious foods, and whether the framing of the price incentive as a subsidy for nutritious food or a tax on non-nutritious food influences consumers’ responses. Analyzing transaction data from an 8-month randomized controlled field experiment involving 208 households, we find that a 10% relative price difference between nutritious and less nutritious food does not significantly affect overall purchases, although low-income households respond to the subsidy frame by buying more of both nutritious and less-nutritious food.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21929

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