Money may be a sweetener but less effective long term

A review of recent literature showed that incentives appear less effective when it comes to modifying complex entrenched behaviours like smoking, diet or exercise, they found. 

Socially disadvantaged groups were the most amenable to financial incentives but there was little evidence the effect was sustained once incentives were withdrawn, researchers from the University of Newcastle said.

Pay-for-performance programs have been credited with increasing Australia’s child immunisation rate from 56% in 1996 to 90% in 2003, they said.

Professor Stephen Leeder, director of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy, Sydney, agreed that “carrots work better than sticks” but added that on a population level, lack of polarisation between rich and poor was a vital contributor to health and the reason Australians had relatively long life expectancy..

“A big incentive to an entire community or social stratum to become healthier