Ben Handel (Gilbert Center) and Jon Kolstad (Gilbert Center)

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In 2014, US health care spending was $3 trillion ($9,523 per person) or 17.5 percent of GDP, more than any other nation. Yet US life expectancy, and many other measures of population health, were worse than OECD counterparts (OECD 2016). Poor diet, lack of exercise, and limited medication adherence, amongst other behaviors, could affect this gap and are seen as critical to improving health outcomes and to reducing the cost of health care. Up to one-third of all deaths in the United States result from a condition that can be modified by changes in behavior (Loewenstein, Brennan, and Volpp 2007). It is crucial for economic and policy analysis of health care to better understand why such behaviors persist and how they might be changed.