Project: Identifying Behavioral Economics Factors Affecting Food Consumption
Award Year: 2007
Amount of award, fiscal 2007: $399,773.00
Institution: University of Chicago
Principal Investigator: Diane Schanzenbach
Status: Completed
Detailed Objective: Food choices and diets are determined by factors in addition to standard economic factors, such as prices, income, and information. Behavioral economics is rapidly gaining attention as a branch of economics that offers new tools and insights to explain human choices and decisions. The behavioral approach takes into account psychological factors and cognitive errors that may bias consumer choice in ways that conflict with long-term self-interest of the decisionmaker. This project will develop and conduct a telephone survey of approximately 500 women to gather information on psychological and emotional factors, time use, and diet and health outcomes. The survey data will be analyzed to determine what behavioral factors correlate with various dietary and health outcomes. The objective of this project is to develop a set of questions that could ultimately form the basis of a behavioral module to use with existing national consumption and health surveys, such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). While information from current research identifies certain risk factors associated with health and nutrition outcomes, research is needed to understand the psychological factors that drive food choices, some of which may make certain consumers more prone to obesity and poor diets. This behavioral module will help inform our understanding of food consumption choices and health outcomes. Using contemporary behavioral economics concepts, this study will develop and test new survey questions for measuring psychosocial and cognitive factors that have proven successful in understanding consumer behavior in other areas. The intended result is the development of a behavioral module that is relatively simple and cost effective to implement via a telephone survey.
Topic: Behavioral Economics, Data Collection and Methodology, Dietary Intake and Quality