Gary Charness, University of California, Santa Barbara

Improving healthy eating in children: Experimental evidence.


We conduct a field experiment to study whether and how it might be possible to incentivize children to make healthier food choices at school. We align children’s appraisal of food choices with their appraisal of schoolwork by introducing a system in which food items are graded based on their nutritional value. We also involve parents and classmates as change agents, providing them with information regarding the food choices of their children or friends. We find parents’ involvement in the decision process to be crucial in boosting a healthy behavior, with very strong results that survive months after our intervention was completed.

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Gary Charness is a researcher in experimental and behavioral economics. Some of his research interests include behavioral game theory, experimental labor economics, communication, contract design, field interventions, and individual decision making

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