Database of Behavioral Economics Interventions
Searchable database of 650+ case studies and interventions from business, public and non-profit sectors
List of 706 Database entries
Motivating healthier product choices in a supermarket with mandatory nutrition labeling
The current study examined the impact of moving from voluntary to mandatory nutrition labeling of food products in supermarkets on consumer choices.
Prior to the NLEA (The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act), labeling was ... voluntary and mostly, only low-fat level dressings were labeled. However, after all the products were required to be labeled, sales of unhealthy products (high-fat level dressings) declined.
This is clear evidence of the fact that mandatory nutritional education through labels leads to healthier consumer product choices.
Raising awareness of sustainability through providing additional nutritional features
On behalf of the European Commission, a study was developed to test the impact of exposing consumers to sustainability-related information on their food choices.
The intervention took place at the Milan 2015 Universal Exposition, ... in the “Supermarket of the Future”. In this supermarket on large interactive screens, consumers had access to additional nutritional features such as environmental information, the origin of raw materials, carbon footprint, or sustainability logos.
Researchers found that supermarket visitors put more weight on sustainability information and had stronger intentions to take environmental concerns into account than non-visitors. In addition, they donated more to sustainable charities than non-visitors.
Targeting food waste by motivating customers to buy imperfect food
A study, developed on behalf of the European Commission, tested the possible factors that may affect consumers´ willingness to buy imperfect food (not perfect looking but still great in taste and quality).
Participants were ... shown 1 of 2 messages aimed at encouraging the purchase of imperfect apples and carrots: 1) “Embrace imperfection: join the fight against food waste!” or 2) message emphasizing that the food is „naturally imperfect“. Both of the messages were combined with a) no price reduction, b) a 15% price reduction, c) a 30% price reduction.
The results were the following: with no price reduction, 26% of consumers were willing to buy imperfect food; with a 15% price reduction, it increased to 31%; with a 30% discount, this share reached 39%. The persuasive messages had the strongest effect in the no-discount condition: the anti-food-waste or authenticity message resulted in and 42% and 41% of consumers being willing to buy imperfect food, respectively.
Motivating sustainable consumption of electronics by changing the default option in stores
To motivate more sustainable consumption of electronics, the authors carried out an experiment that focused on the consumption of mobile phones among young people.
In the first phase, youngsters were surveyed in a ... Danish electronics that aimed at understanding whether they would be willing to opt for reparation of goods or second-hand alternatives (which are not automatically offered in shops). In the second, stated choice experiment, young consumers had to choose between leasing their mobile or buying it, by including a third, undesirable option – a more expensive mobile leasing scheme.
Results from the first phase showed that 87% of consumers would opt for repair if it was offered in shops automatically (20% more than in the baseline condition) and 28.9% would opt for the second-hand phone (7 times more than in the baseline condition). In the second phase, 62% of consumers chose to lease their phone instead of 38% in the baseline condition.
Reducing littering behavior by using social norms, monitoring, and commitment devices
In order to reduce littering around waste containers in the Netherlands, six behavioral interventions were tested: self-correction by self-reflection, injunctive social norm, descriptive social norm, monitoring and penalties, commitment and consistency, and setting the ... right norm.
The three most effective ones were the 1) descriptive social norm that was based on placing a “Help to keep it clean here: most people in this neighborhood do not litter around the containers” signs alongside containers – reducing littering from 50% to 30%, 2) monitoring waste containers and placing a warning that littering may result in fines – reducing littering from 51% to 29%, and 3) commitment devices that were prompting people to keep the neighborhood clean and then placing a sign next to the container – reducing littering from 45% to 28%.
Increasing compliance by timing and changes in message design
The Australian Government Department of the Environment designed a randomized controlled trial aimed at increasing the reporting compliance of license entities.
They incorporated behavioral insights techniques into reminder messages sent to license entities. ... The two most effective interventions were: 1) changes in the design of the message: emphasizing the reporting being mandatory, and providing three simple steps to get to the link of the online reporting system, 2) realizing the importance of timing: sending out both early and last-minute reminders.
Compliance increased by 26%.
Sending priming messages to increase business´ compliance with environmental regulations
The Australian Government Department of the Environment tested the impact of priming messages to investigate businesses´ motivations in becoming certified as carbon neutral.
Participants were assigned to receive either 1) the intrinsic motivation message ... emphasizing the environmental benefits of being certified carbon neutral, 2) the extrinsic motivation message emphasizing the advantages for a business being certified, or 3) the standard marketing message.
Subjects that received the messages based on extrinsic motivation were more likely to request further information on the issue. Those who received the messages with the environmental messages, however, did not show any interest in receiving further information.
The effect of setting small amounts as the default on the amounts of donations
In eight studies, researchers tested how setting a donation option as the default affects donation rates.
They found evidence on:
1) A “lower-bar” effect where defaulting only a small amount increased donation rate. This is ... due to the fact that when the bar is too high, people may perceive it as kind of a manipulation. However, with lower amounts recommended, people feel appreciated and good about donating.
2) A “scale-back” effect where low defaults reduced average donation amounts – the concern that setting a low amount as the default may demotivate people that would have otherwise donated a larger amount.
3) A “default-distraction effect” where the introduction of any default reduced the effect of other cues – recommendations may also cause decision difficulty and contradict the decision-maker´s initial preference.
Coupon message framing and expiration date restrictions affected the efficacy of sales promotions
The authors examined how the framing of sales promotions may affect the shopping behavior of customers. They found the following: 1) Respondents added more items overall to their baskets when they were exposed to ... a gain-framed coupon (“Get $1.50 Off” or “Buy One Get One Free) rather than a nonloss-framed (“Save $1.50”) coupon, 2) Participants who saw an offer that expired the same day indicated that they had less time to redeem the offer than those who saw a future expiration date.
The form of tipping positively affected workers´ motivation to perform better
The authors focused on buyer monitoring to examine the effectiveness of tipping on motivating employees and therefore customers´ perception of the service they provide.
Across three studies, the results were the following: 1) ... service ratings were better at restaurants with a policy of voluntary tipping than at those with automatic service charges, 2) an online survey showed that most restaurant servers believe that tips are affected by the service they provide, 3) servers´ motivation to provide personalized service is greater under tipping than under service charge.