Article | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | June 28, 2011

Using Implementation Intentions Prompts to Enhance Influenza Vaccination Rates

by Katherine L Milkman, John Beshears, James J. Choi, David Laibson and Brigitte C. Madrian

Abstract

We evaluate the results of a field experiment designed to measure the effect of prompts to form implementation intentions on realized behavioral outcomes. The outcome of interest is influenza vaccination receipt at free on-site clinics offered by a large firm to its employees. All employees eligible for study participation received reminder mailings that listed the times and locations of the relevant vaccination clinics. Mailings to employees randomly assigned to the treatment conditions additionally included a prompt to write down either (i) the date the employee planned to be vaccinated or (ii) the date and time the employee planned to be vaccinated. Vaccination rates increased when these implementation intentions prompts were included in the mailing. The vaccination rate among control condition employees was 33.1%. Employees who received the prompt to write down just a date had a vaccination rate 1.5 percentage points higher than the control group, a difference that is not statistically significant. Employees who received the more specific prompt to write down both a date and a time had a 4.2 percentage point higher vaccination rate, a difference that is both statistically significant and of meaningful magnitude.

Keywords: Behavioral economics; nudge; libertarian paternalism; public health; flu shot; Behavior; Consumer Behavior; Health Care and Treatment; Cognition and Thinking;

Citation:

Milkman, Katherine L., John Beshears, James J. Choi, David Laibson, and Brigitte C. Madrian. "Using Implementation Intentions Prompts to Enhance Influenza Vaccination Rates." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108, no. 26 (June 28, 2011): 10415–10420.