Households and individuals make decisions every day that directly impact on their health and nutrition outcomes, which are influenced by many factors, including social norms, myths and misinformation, impulsivity and procrastination, and the country context they live in. Behavioural economics/insights can help explain this decision making and create an environment in which people make choices that are better aligned with their aspirations, objectives, and perceived welfare. Interventions might involve supplying the correct information, refraining existing information, streamlining choices, or facilitating commitment to a welfare-enhancing decision. Insights from behavioural economics have mainly been applied in high income countries but are now being applied in a variety of low- and middle-income settings to improve health behaviours. This rapid review looks at available literature on the application of behavioural economics/insights to health-and nutrition-related matters in low and middle income countries, focusing primarily on interventions relating to reproductive health, child health, and child nutrition.
K4D helpdesk reports provide summaries of current research, evidence and lessons learned. This report was commissioned by the UK Department for International Development.
Rohwerder, B. (2017). Behavioural economics/insights and health and nutrition in low- and middle-income countries. K4D Helpdesk Report 184. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.