Does promoting one healthy behavior detract from others? Evidence from a field experiment
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics (Forthcoming)
Impact evaluations of behavioral interventions typically focus on target
outcomes. Might interventions induce negative spillovers on other behaviors?
I run a large field experiment in which individuals receive combinations of
messages and incentives promoting two healthy behaviors, meditation and
meal logging. I find that the interventions reduce completion rates of the opposite
behavior by 19–29%. I find that interventions with larger target effects
do not necessarily generate larger negative spillovers, and demonstrate implications
for cost-effectiveness analysis. I investigate the mechanisms behind
the observed spillovers.