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American Economic Journal: Applied Economics: Vol. 2 No. 2 (April 2010)

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Promoting Healthy Choices: Information versus Convenience

Article Citation

Wisdom, Jessica, Julie S. Downs, and George Loewenstein. 2010. "Promoting Healthy Choices: Information versus Convenience." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2(2): 164-78.

DOI: 10.1257/app.2.2.164

Abstract

Success in slowing obesity trends would benefit from policies aimed at reducing calorie consumption. In a field experiment at a fast-food sandwich chain, we address the effects of providing calorie information, mimicking recent legislation, and test an alternative approach that makes ordering healthier slightly more convenient. We find that calorie information reduces calorie intake. Providing a daily calorie target does as well, but only for non-overweight individuals. Making healthy choices convenient reduces intake when the intervention is strong. However, a milder implementation reduces sandwich calories, but does not reduce total calories due to compensatory effects on side orders and drinks. (JEL I12, I18, L81)

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Authors

Wisdom, Jessica (Carnegie Mellon U)
Downs, Julie S. (Carnegie Mellon U)
Loewenstein, George (Carnegie Mellon U)

JEL Classifications

I12: Health Production
I18: Health: Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
L81: Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce

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