One Size Does Not Fit All: Financial Incentives Needed to Change Physical Exercise Levels for Different Groups

Type Article

Journal Article


A. Longo; E. Mitchell; A. Markandya; I. Galarraga

Year of publication



Med Decis Making








This study estimated the distribution of willingness to accept (WTA) for a physical activity behavior change intervention entailing the completion of 10,000 steps/day to shed light on which levels of incentives trigger a change in behavior for different proportions of the population and for more at-risk subgroups. An online contingent valuation (CV) survey was administered to 1130 respondents in the Basque Autonomous Community, Spain. The survey queried respondents about their physical activity levels and intention to engage in physical activity before presenting the WTA questions. Nonparametric WTA values were estimated for the whole sample and for subsamples of active, inactive, and overweight and obese people. One-quarter of respondents would engage with the hypothetical program even without payment, but if a monetary incentive was offered them, they would take it. The median WTA for committing to complete 10,000 steps/day is €0.23 for the full sample, €0.21 for active, €0.25 for inactive, and €0.23 for overweight and obese people. The WTA at 75th percentile is €4 for the full sample, €1.70 for active, €10.80 for inactive, and €5 for overweight and obese respondents. WTA is positively affected by a person's lack of disposable time to increase their physical activity and, for inactive people, by their poor intention to become physically active.