In this guest post, Harald Schmidt from the University of Pennsylvania takes apart the media furore about a proposal  (at least as reported) to cut payments to unhealthy benefit claimants if they didn’t go to the gym – using the insights gained from his previous work on the ethics of incentives in health & social policy.

Pain on a treadmillHealth incentives are of increasing interest to policy makers. Yet, they are highly controversial. For many, they are outright irritating. Unhelpfully ambiguous policy proposals do little to move towards a more nuanced discussion. The recent controversy around a section in a Report by the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) and Westminster Council is a case in point, and allows several lessons to be learned. 

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