HKS Authors

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Unhealthy behaviors are responsible for a large proportion of health care costs and poor health outcomes. Surveys of large employers regularly identify unhealthy behaviors as the most important challenge to affordable benefits coverage. For this reason, employers increasingly leverage incentives to encourage changes in employees’ health-related behaviors. According to one survey, 81% of large employers provide incentives for healthy behavior change. In this Viewpoint, we discuss the potential and limitations of an approach that behavioral science research has shown can be used to influence health behaviors but that is distinct from incentives: the use of commitment devices.


Rogers, Todd, Katherine L. Milkman, and Kevin G. Volpp. "Commitment Devices: Using Initiatives to Change Behavior-Reply." The Journal of the American Medical Association 312.15 (October 2014): 1592-1593.