What can we learn about prevention incentives from behavioural economics?

Marianne Levitsky, ECOH Management Inc., Mississauga, Canada


Overview: This presentation explores research findings that reflect on incentives and motivation, emerging from the domains of behavioural economics and related fields such as social marketing and decision-making. Examples of findings such as framing effects, the endowment effect, the IKEA effect, and present-bias preferences are discussed, along with examples of research studies that relate these phenomena to health and safety. Suggestions are made as to the relevance of this research in opening up avenues of inquiry on incentives and motivators for workplace health and safety. The presentation is based on secondary research that the authors conducted and integrated into seminars on health and safety culture, which they have delivered at industrial hygiene professional conferences and courses.

Conclusion: Health and safety practitioners may identify useful change strategies by looking beyond health and safety research, and researchers may find provocative new research questions by examining findings from studies of behavioural economics, social marketing and decision-making.

Authors: Marianne Levitsky and Dr. Om Malik