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Paying People to Fix Their Pets

A few years back, a Freakonomics reader named Stephanie Downs wrote in with an idea: bribing people (with cash, gift certificates etc.) to spay or neuter their pets. “I found your story about the [Israeli] daycares very interesting,” she wrote. “I want to do the research upfront on what will motivate people instead of spending years finding the right formula.” Stephanie recently launched the FIXIT Foundation, dedicated to “finding ways to increase interest in spay/neuter programs.” As she told us in a recent e-mail: “By January of this year we had agreement from the shelter in St. Croix to participate in the program and set ourselves up on island not long after. This summer we surveyed 2 percent of the island on their perception of spay/neuter and what if any incentives would bring them around to the idea. Last month we completed an animal census to calculate the number of animals on island, and this month we will be doing message testing in survey environments. That data will be used to select the best messages to launch live in January.” We look forward to finding out what kind of incentives Stephanie finds effective – or if, perhaps, they somehow backfire. [%comments]