DP8571 | Nudging with information: a randomized field experiment on reminders and feedback

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Can people be helped to stick to their plans with a little help from information? We provide a theoretical and empirical analysis of the effects of reminders and feedback on investment activities involving up-front costs and delayed benefits, such as education and healthy behavior. By means of a randomized field experiment, we show that simple weekly reminders induce users of a gym to substantially increase their levels of physical exercise. We show that limited attention helps explain our results, and we find evidence of mental accounting in users' response to the stimulus of reminders. These results show that virtuous behavior, such as following a healthy life style, can be promoted without the need for monetary incentives: providing incentives through information is both effective and cheap.