Do Peer Comparison Feedback and Financial Incentives Induce Healthy Behavior? Evidence from Dormitory Roommate Assignments

I investigate the effect of social norming and financial incentives on promoting physical exercise among randomly selected freshman students. Physical exercise is measured as the number of times an individual visits the recreation center. Social norming involves providing feedback to individuals on own and peers’ physical exercise behavior. The financial incentive allows individuals to win a gift card by having their names entered into a lottery. Previous studies show that social norming and financial incentive have been successful in modifying individual behavior. However, results from my studies using these tools have shown little effect in increasing the individuals’ frequency of physical exercise. The in-effectiveness of social norming can be explained by focus theory. It implies that social norming can instigate students to reduce their positive behavior and might lead to an unintended boomerang effect.

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Conference Paper/ Presentation
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JEL Codes:
I1; I2

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-23

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