Financial and Prosocial Incentives for Physical Activity: A Field Experiment

Last registered on March 10, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Financial and Prosocial Incentives for Physical Activity: A Field Experiment
Initial registration date
February 04, 2024

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
February 06, 2024, 5:27 PM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
March 10, 2024, 10:15 AM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.


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Primary Investigator

Osaka University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Kwansei Gakuin University

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
This study investigates how financial and prosocial incentives affect the walking behavior of citizens. In particular, we focus on whether they can self-select the incentive that is more effective in increasing their own number of walking steps. In addition to a control group, our field experiment has three treatment groups: two groups that are assigned to a mandatory program with either monetary or prosocial incentives, and one group that is allowed to choose which program to participate in. Our analysis reveals how effectively self-selection works.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Sasaki, Shusaku and Hirofumi Kurokawa. 2024. "Financial and Prosocial Incentives for Physical Activity: A Field Experiment." AEA RCT Registry. March 10.
Experimental Details


We randomly assign experimental subjects to either of one control group or three treatment groups.
Control: No incentive
Treatment 1: Financial incentive
Treatment 2: Prosocial incentive
Treatment 3: Self-selection
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Steps per day
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Our analysis uses steps per day that is automatically recorded on participants’ personal iPhone.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Other physical activities
Subjective health
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Our analysis uses the secondary outcomes that are ascertained through questionnaire surveys.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
In January 2024, we recruit experimental participants via email from residents in Japan. We obtain their opt-in consent for participation and use of the walking step data recorded in the smartphone app, and ask them to complete a questionnaire survey on their socioeconomic characteristics, physical activity habits, subjective health status, donation experience, etc.

We set a one-week treatment period (February 19-25). We communicate the information about the assigned group by e-mail before the treatment period and during the treatment period.

In March 2024, we ask the participants to complete another questionnaire survey on physical activity habits, subjective health status, etc.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
We perform stratified randomization based on area of residence, sex, and number of steps at pre-experiment.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
808 individuals (at maximum)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
202 individuals in the control group, 202 individuals in the financial-incentive group, 202 individuals in the prosocial-incentive group, 202 individuals in the self-selection group (respectively at maximum).
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
We decided to collect a maximum of 808 participants, while considering our budget constraints. Using d = 0.36 in the meta-analysis (Luong et al., 2021), the sample size for each group becomes 202 with alpha = 0.05 and power = 0.95. Luong, M. L. N., Hall, M., Bennell, K. L., Kasza, J., Harris, A., & Hinman, R. S. (2021). The impact of financial incentives on physical activity: a systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Health Promotion, 35(2), 236-249.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Center for Infectious Disease Education and Research, Osaka University IRB
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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