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J Public Health Res. 2012 Feb 14;1(1):14-21. doi: 10.4081/jphr.2012.e5. eCollection 2012 Feb 17.

Label, nudge or tax? A review of health policies for risky behaviours.

Journal of public health research

Matteo M Galizzi


  1. Centre for the Study of Incentives in Health, The London School of Economics, UK.

PMID: 25170442 PMCID: PMC4140317 DOI: 10.4081/jphr.2012.e5


This work proposes a critical, non systematic, review of the three main lines of health policy interventions to deal with risky behaviours, such as over-eating, smoking, sedentary lives, and excess alcohol drinking, namely: i) the release of information on health risks and consequences; ii) the use of incentives; and iii) direct policy intervention in markets, through regulation and taxation. First, the health and economic impact of the risky behaviours epidemics are briefly described. Then a critical review follows on the evidence existing on the effectiveness of each type of intervention. The review will also highlight the public health approach staying beyond each type of policy on risky behaviours and critically consider them within the context of more general health and social policy interventions.

Keywords: Behavioural health economics; fat tax; incentives in health


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