Using Incentives to Encourage Healthy Eating in Children

There is growing interest in the situations in which incentives have a significant effect on positive behaviors, particularly in children. Using a randomized field experiment, we find that incentives increase the fraction of children eating a serving of fruits or vegetables during lunch by 80 percent and reduce the amount of waste by 33 percent. At schools with a larger fraction of low-income children, the increase in the fraction of children who eat a serving of fruits or vegetables is even larger, indicating that incentives successfully target the children who are likely to benefit the most from the increased consumption.