Michele Belot, Cornell University

Changing Dietary Habits Early on in Life: A Field Experiment with Low Income Families


We evaluate the malleability of dietary habits early on in life with two interventions, targeting low income families with children of age two to six. Both interventions last for three months. Families are asked to either prepare healthy meals with ingredients delivered to their door or to eat at regular times. Families in the control group carry on as usual. Both interventions lead to a fall in children’s body mass index, effect that persists for three years for the first intervention, but fades away after two years for the second. In contrast, we find no effects on parents.

Michèle Belot is Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics and at the School of Industrial Labor Relations. She held previous appointments in the United Kingdom (University of Edinburgh, Oxford University and the University of Essex) and at the European University Institute. She obtained her Ph.D. in Economics from Tilburg University (CentER) in 2003. Her research interests are broadly in applied microeconomics, with a special interest in experimental work in areas related to labour, health and education. She has published in journals such as the Review of Economic Studies, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of Health Economics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and The Economic Journal. She is the current President of the European Association of Labour Economists.

Her recent work consists of designing and testing interventions using randomized controlled trials, in the domains of health and job search. In the domain of health, her work focuses on interventions designed to encourage individuals to adopt healthier behaviors. Most interventions tested target children and low income families. In the domain of job search, the interventions are aimed at providing relevant information to job seekers.

You can read more about Michele Belot and her research here

CEBI contact: Sarah Zaccagni