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The effect of financial incentives on chlamydia testing rates: evidence from a randomized experiment

Dolan, Paul and Rudisill, Caroline (2014) The effect of financial incentives on chlamydia testing rates: evidence from a randomized experiment. Social Science & Medicine (105). 140 - 148. ISSN 0277-9536

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.11.018


Financial incentives have been used in a variety of settings to motivate behaviors that might not otherwise be undertaken. They have been highlighted as particularly useful in settings that require a single behavior, such as appointment attendance or vaccination. They also have differential effects based on socioeconomic status in some applications (e.g. smoking). To further investigate these claims, we tested the effect of providing different types of non-cash financial incentives on the return rates of chlamydia specimen samples amongst 16-24 year-olds in England. In 2011 and 2012, we ran a two-stage randomized experiment involving 2988 young people (1489 in Round 1 and 1499 in Round 2) who requested a chlamydia screening kit from, an online and text screening service run by Preventx Limited. Participants were randomized to control, or one of five types of financial incentives in Round 1 or one of four financial incentives in Round 2. We tested the effect of five types of incentives on specimen sample return; reward vouchers of differing values, charity donation, participation in a lottery, choices between a lottery and a voucher and including vouchers of differing values in the test kit prior to specimen return. Financial incentives of any type, did not make a significant difference in the likelihood of specimen return. The more deprived individuals were, as calculated using Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD), the less likely they were to return a sample. The extent to which incentive structures influenced sample return was not moderated by IMD score. Non-cash financial incentives for chlamydia testing do not seem to affect the specimen return rate in a chlamydia screening program where test kits are requested online, mailed to requestors and returned by mail. They also do not appear more or less effective in influencing test return depending on deprivation level.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 The Authors
Divisions: Social Policy
Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2014 09:02
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2021 01:01
Projects: PI Marteau: 086031/Z/08/Z
Funders: Centre for the Study of Incentives in Health, Wellcome Trust Biomedical Ethics Programme

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