We show that limited attention and present bias contribute to low levels of exercise. First, in a large randomized experiment, we find that email reminders increase gym visits by 13 % and that they benefit nearly all types of individuals. Limited attention can explain these effects. Second, using a novel dataset, we find that many bookings for gym classes are canceled, and that bookings are made even for classes that never have a waiting list. Comparing these findings to the predictions of a dynamic discrete choice model, we conclude that many gym members use bookings to commit themselves to future attendance.

Authors

Muller, Paul
Habla, Wolfgang

Keywords

health behavior, randomized experiment, reminders, nudging, habit formation, limited attention, time inconsistency