Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics
Montana State University
P.O. Box 172920
Bozeman, MT 59717
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|August 2018||The Limits of Simple Implementation Intentions: Evidence from a Field Experiment on Making Plans to Exercise|
with Heather Royer, Mark F. Stehr, Justin R. Sydnor, Dmitry Taubinsky: w24959
Recent large-scale randomized experiments find that helping people form implementation intentions by asking when and where they plan to act increases one-time actions, such as vaccinations, preventative screenings and voting. We investigate the effect of a simple scalable planning intervention on a repeated behavior using a randomized design involving 877 subjects at a private gym. Subjects were randomized into i) a treatment group who selected the days and times they intended to attend the gym over the next two weeks or ii) a control group who instead recorded their days of exercise in the prior two weeks. In contrast to recent studies, we find that the planning intervention did not have a positive effect on behavior and observe a tightly estimated null effect. This lack of effect is desp...
|July 2017||Can Financial Incentives Help People Trying to Establish New Habits? Experimental Evidence with New Gym Members|
with Heather Royer, Mark Stehr, Justin Sydnor: w23567
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 vis...
Published: Mariana Carrera & Heather Royer & Mark Stehr & Justin Sydnor, 2018. "Can Financial Incentives Help People Trying to Establish New Habits? Experimental Evidence with New Gym Members," Journal of Health Economics, . citation courtesy of
|February 2017||The Structure of Health Incentives: Evidence from a Field Experiment|
with Heather Royer, Mark F. Stehr, Justin R. Sydnor: w23188
The use of incentives to encourage healthy behaviors is increasingly widespread, but we have little evidence about how best to structure these programs. We explore how different incentive designs affect behavior on the extensive and intensive margins through an experiment offering incentives to employees of a Fortune 500 company to use their workplace gym. Overall the likelihood of joining the gym was not strongly affected by the incentive design. Notably, front-loading incentives to encourage initial participation was not more effective than an incentive kept constant over time. For those who were already at least occasional users of the gym, however, we find more evidence that the design of incentives matters. For this group, front-loading incentives appears to be detrimental relative to...
|June 2013||Heterogeneity in Cost-Sharing and Cost-Sensitivity, and the Role of the Prescribing Physician|
with Dana Goldman, Geoffrey Joyce: w19186
In this paper, we use individual level data on purchases of one of the most prescribed categories of drugs (cholesterol-lowering statins) to study the responses of physicians and patients to variation in the cost of drugs. In a sample of first-time statin prescriptions to employees from a group of Fortune 500 firms, we find that copay variation across plans has a relatively small effect on the choice of drug, and this effect does not vary with patient income. After the highly-publicized expiration of the patent for Zocor (simvastatin), however, prescriptions for this drug increased substantially, especially for lower-income patients. Our analysis suggests that physicians can perceive the adherence elasticity of their patients and adjust their initial prescriptions accordingly, but only in ...
Carrera M, Goldman D, Joyce G, Sood N. Do Physicians Respond to the Costs and Cost-sensitivity of Their Patients? Forthcoming, American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.