The Why and How of Behavioral Economic Strategies to Promote Healthy Behaviors

Jeffrey T. Kullgren, MD, MS, MPH

Behavioral economics is a relatively new behavioral science discipline that applies principles from both economics and psychology to better understand, predict, and shape human behaviors. Insights from the field of behavioral economics have given rise to new behavior change strategies like financial incentives, choice architecture modifications, and commitment devices. These strategies have shown promise in combatting major public health problems such as obesity, smoking, and medication non-adherence. Consequently, employers, health insurance plans, and policymakers are increasingly using these and other behavioral economic approaches to “nudge” people towards healthier decisions. Yet there remain many important questions about the effectiveness, equity, and sustainability of such strategies. In this seminar, Dr. Kullgren examines health-related applications of behavioral economic strategies, identifies challenges these applications pose, and explores how these challenges might be overcome to optimize the effects of behavioral economic strategies on population health.
Jeffrey T. Kullgren, MD, MS, MPH
Research Scientist, Center for Clinical Management Research, Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Health System; Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School
Recorded January 21, 2015


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