Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of incentives as a tool for prevention of non-communicable diseases: A systematic review

Eric Finkelstein, Marcel Bilger, Drishti Baid

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review

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The rising epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) poses substantial health and economic challenges to both individuals and society. Application of incentive-based strategies based on traditional and behavioural economic theory has emerged as a potential strategy to address rising rates of NCDs. Yet, whether or not incentives truly represent a promising strategy for addressing NCDs has not been systematically addressed nor is it clear whether certain behavioural economic strategies outperform others or simply offering a cash-based incentive for meeting a goal. In this systematic review we aim to determine whether there is an evidence base for any of these strategies. Forty-eight published randomized controlled trials (70 contrasts) evaluating the effectiveness of incentive-based strategies for improvements in NCD risk-factors were reviewed. Our primary conclusion is that there is a lack of compelling evidence that incentives of any form represent a compelling NCD reduction strategy. More evidence for long-term effectiveness and cost-effectiveness is needed to justify third party funding of any incentive based strategy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340 - 350
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 303010 Health economics

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