Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/207499
Authors: 
Belot, Michèle
James, Jonathan
Spiteri, Jonathan
Year of Publication: 
2019
Series/Report no.: 
IZA Discussion Papers No. 12675
Publisher: 
Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), Bonn
Abstract: 
This paper tests an intervention aimed at facilitating (cognitively) the adoption of healthy dietary habits. We provide easy-to-understand information about the risks of developing diabetes or heart diseases and give easy-to-follow dietary recommendations to minimize these risks. We implement two variations, one consisting of generic information, the other consisting of information tailored to the individual, the latter resembling newly developed on-line health assessment tools. On top of the information treatment, we implement a second experimental variation nudging people into spending more time thinking about their dietary choices. We find evidence that the information intervention leads to healthier choices in the short run, but mostly in the generic treatment. Surprisingly, we find that people are on average pessimistic about their health, and therefore receive good news on average when the information is tailored to them. We find no evidence that increasing the time available to make choices leads to healthier choices, and find no evidence of long-term changes in habits. These results do not support a bounded rationality explanation for poor dietary choices.
Subjects: 
health risks
dietary habits
bounded rationality
heuristics
information
time availability
laboratory experiments
JEL: 
I12
I18
H51
D83
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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