? All interventions
| D Ortega, C Scartascini|
There is an ample literature on the determinants of tax compliance. Several field experiments have evaluated the effect and comparative relevance of sending deterrence and moral suasion messages to taxpayers. The effect of different delivery mechanisms, however, has not been evaluated so far. This study conducts a field experiment in Colombia that varies the way the National Tax Agency contacts taxpayers on payments due for income, value added, and wealth taxes. More than 20,000 taxpayers were randomly assigned to a control or one of three delivery mechanisms (letter, email, and personal visit by a tax inspector). Results indicate large and highly significant effects, as well as sizable differences across delivery methods. A personal visit by a tax inspector is more effective than a physical letter or an email, conditional on delivery, but email tends to reach its target more often. Improving the quality of taxpayer contact information can significantly improve the collection of delinquencies.
We show that two simple and nonintrusive ‘nudges’–reducing plate size and providing social cues–reduce the amount of food waste in hotel restaurants by around 20%. The results are statistically significant. They are also environmentally substantial as food waste is a major contributor to climate change and other forms of environmental degradation. Given the magnitude of the contribution of food waste to global environmental change, it is surprising that this issue has not received greater attention. The measures reduce the amount of food the restaurants need to purchase, and there is no change in guest satisfaction, making it likely that profits will increase. The measures thus constitute potential win–win opportunities.
Most opioid prescription deaths occur among people with common conditions for which prescribing risks outweigh benefits. General psychological insights offer an explanation: People may judge risk to be low without available personal experiences, may be less careful than expected when not observed, and may falter without an injunction from authority. To test these hypotheses, we conducted a randomized trial of 861 clinicians prescribing to 170 persons who subsequently suffered fatal overdoses. Clinicians in the intervention group received notification of their patients’ deaths and a safe prescribing injunction from their county’s medical examiner, whereas physicians in the control group did not. Milligram morphine equivalents in prescriptions filled by patients of letter recipients versus controls decreased by 9.7% (95% confidence interval: 6.2 to 13.2%; P < 0.001) over 3 months after intervention. We also observed both fewer opioid initiates and fewer high-dose opioid prescriptions by letter recipients.
| N Benhassine, F Devoto, E Duflo, P Dupas, V Pouliquen|
Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) have been shown to increase human capital investments, but their standard features make them expensive. We use a large randomized experiment in Morocco to estimate an alternative government-run program, a "labeled cash transfer" (LCT): a small cash transfer made to fathers of school-aged children in poor rural communities, not conditional on school attendance but explicitly labeled as an education support program. We document large gains in school participation. Adding conditionality and targeting mothers made almost no difference in our context. The program increased parents' belief that education was a worthwhile investment, a likely pathway for the results. (JEL H23, I24, 128, I38, J24, O15, O18)
Low response rates to government surveys hinder research and limit the robustness of the policy evaluations and recommendation. To compensate for low rates of response, research teams often need to increase sample sizes, making research more costly.
A randomized evaluation found that a one-time message increased attendance at peer tutoring sessions by 7 percentage points, from 29% to 36%. Attendance at multiple tutoring sessions increased by 6 percentage points, from 18% to 24%.
The researchers used a randomized control trial to test the effects of different types of messaging on employee 401(k) contributions. They found that among the employees who contributed the least to their 401(k) plans, those who received the $16,500 cue contributed higher proportions of income on average than those who received the $3,000 cue.
Project Summary. Posters and brochures emphasizing career incentives—especially the opportunity to move up to higher and better-paid positions—helped recruit new, more effective community health workers.
A randomized evaluation showed that envelopes printed with dollar costs over time reduced borrowing from the payday lender in later pay cycles by about 11%.The other information types did not significantly reduce the likelihood of borrowing in a post-intervention pay cycle.
While the average take-up rate for all loan offers was 8.5%, this randomized evaluation found that extending the deadline to apply by two weeks (from 2 weeks to 4 weeks, or from 4 weeks to 6 weeks) increased the probability of applying by 3 percentage points, roughly equivalent to the increase achieved by reducing the interest rate 10 percentage points.
| P Adams, S Hunt, Vale, Zaliauskas|
The FCA used a randomized evaluation to test the effect of the reminders in motivating consumers to switch their savings account. The study found that reminders increased the percentage of customers taking some action following the rate decrease, whether switching their account internally, or closing the account and moving to another institution, by between 5.4 and 7.9 percentage points.