? All interventions
| AC North, DJ Hargreaves, J McKendrick|
Nature, 390(6656), 132–132
Royalty payments for non-broadcast commercial uses of music in 1995 amounted to £53.8 million in the UK alone1. Research on music and consumer behaviour2,3 has, however, almost completely ignored the potential effect of in-store music on purchasing and particularly on product choice. By investigating the purchasing of German and French wines we have found that musical ‘fit’ has a profound influence on product choice.
| Johnson, EJ Goldstein, G Daniel|
Science, Vol. 302, pp. 1338-1339, 2003.
The article discusses how should policy-makers choose defaults regarding organ donors. First, consider that every policy must have a no-action default, and defaults impose physical, cognitive, and, in the case of donation, emotional costs on those who must change their status. Second, note that defaults can lead to two kinds of misclassification, willing donors who are not identified or people who become donors against their wishes. Changes in defaults could increase donations in the United States of additional thousands of donors a year. Because each donor can be used for about three transplants, the consequences are substantial in lives saved.
| Richard Thaler, Shlomo Benartzi|
Journal of Political Economy 112(2004): S164-S187.
As firms switch from defined‐benefit plans to defined‐contribution plans, employees bear more responsibility for making decisions about how much to save. The employees who fail to join the plan or who participate at a very low level appear to be saving at less than the predicted life cycle savings rates. Behavioral explanations for this behavior stress bounded rationality and self‐control and suggest that at least some of the low‐saving households are making a mistake and would welcome aid in making decisions about their saving. In this paper, we propose such a prescriptive savings program, called Save More Tomorrow™ (hereafter, the SMarT program). The essence of the program is straightforward: people commit in advance to allocating a portion of their future salary increases toward retirement savings. We report evidence on the first three implementations of the SMarT program. Our key findings, from the first implementation, which has been in place for four annual raises, are as follows: (1) a high proportion (78 percent) of those offered the plan joined, (2) the vast majority of those enrolled in the SMarT plan (80 percent) remained in it through the fourth pay raise, and (3) the average saving rates for SMarT program participants increased from 3.5 percent to 13.6 percent over the course of 40 months. The results suggest that behavioral economics can be used to design effective prescriptive programs for important economic decisions.
| J Blumenstock, M Callen, T Ghani|
Through a field experiment in Afghanistan, we show that default enrollment in payroll deductions increases rates of savings by 40 percentage points, and that this increase is driven by present-biased preferences. Working with Afghanistan’s primary mobile phone operator, we designed and deployed a new mobile phone-based automatic payroll deduction system. Each of 967 employees at the country’s largest firm was randomly assigned a default contribution rate (either 0% or 5%) as well as a matching incentive rate (0%, 25%, or 50%). We find that employees initially assigned a default contribution rate of 5% are 40 percentage points more likely to contribute to the account 6months later than individuals assigned to a default contribution rate of zero; to achieve this effect through financial incentives alone would require a 50% match from the employer. We also find evidence of habit formation: default enrollment increases the likelihood that employees continue to save after the trial ended, and increases employees’ self-reported interest in saving and sense of financial security. To understand why default enrollment increases participation, we conducted several interventions designed to induce employees to make a non-default election, and separately measured employee time preferences. Ruling out several competing explanations, we find evidence that the default effect is driven largely by present-biased preferences that cause the employee to procrastinate in making a non-default election.
We developed a prototype tool and tested it with young people from Cape Town’s Cape Flats neighborhoods. We wanted to assess whether it was more effective than the traditional approach of improving safety awareness in two respects:
• Improving how “safe” the young people reported feeling.
• Reducing the number of violent events they experienced in the past week.
The tool had powerful effects. A randomized controlled trial found that young people in the treatment group were half as likely as the control group to participate in unsafe activities by the end of the study. The treatment population was also almost half as likely as the control group to report feeling unsafe, and half as likely to report experiencing violence in the past week.These results have significant implications for how we think about improving safety and reducing crime. In many parts of the world violent crime is a serious problem, with policy makers and practitioners alike looking to increased investment in enforcement as a way of mitigating the problem. This pilot project illustrates that supporting targeted decision-making and planning for both potential victims and perpetrators has the potential to significantly reduce violent crime.
Researchers sought to examine the impact of factors including price, persuasion, promotion and the chlorination products themselves with a two-phase study. Prior to the study baseline surveys were administered to a random selection of households.In the first phase, households were given seven WaterGuard bottles, an individual water treatment product, each sufficient for one month’s supply of clean water. They were also provided with improved drinking water storage pots with a tap to prevent contamination and detailed instructions on use. One third of this group received twelve coupons for a 50 percent discount on WaterGuard bottles, each valid for one month during the next year, and calendars with reminders. Another third received additional verbal persuasion messages beyond the basic WaterGuard instructions, and another third received no additional coupons or messages. To estimate social networking effects, the free WaterGuard bottles were distributed in different percentages in each community, allowing researchers to see if higher community levels of use increased individual adoption. A follow-up survey was administered between 2 and 7 months after the free WaterGuard was distributed.In the second phase researchers compared six different treatments designed to increase WaterGuard adoption. For the first three treatments, scripted promotional messages were delivered at either the(1) household level, (2) community level, or (3) both. The second two treatments included repeated promotion of chlorination through a home visit by a community elected promoter. Despite volunteering to work for free, the promoter was paid either a (4) flat rate, or was (5) paid based on how many households had chlorinated water at follow-up visits. The last treatment (6) combined the incentivized promoter model with an unlimited supply of free WaterGuard delivered through a point-of-collection chlorine dispenser at the local water source. Follow-up surveys were conducted 3 weeks and 3-6 months after the start of the study.
This paper documents a widely overlooked dimension of relationship lending: the personal interaction between the borrower and the lender reduces the willingness of the borrower to engage in moral hazard and default on the loan officer. We conduct a randomized experiment with small business borrowers of the largest commercial bank in India to test the impact of three different levels of interactions between the borrower and the bank. Borrowers who are regularly called either by a single assigned relationship manager or by one manager randomly selected from a small team of managers show much better repayment behavior and greater satisfaction with the bank services than borrowers who either receive no follow up or only receive follow up calls from the bank when they are delinquent. The results are economically and statistically significant: borrowers who receive the more intensive treatment see a large reduction in the number of late payment spells and delinquencies.
| T Rogers, J Ternovski, E Yoeli|
People contribute more to public goods when their contributions are made more observable to others. We report an intervention that subtly increases the observability of public goods contributions when people are solicited privately and impersonally (e.g., mail, email, social media). This intervention is tested in a large-scale field experiment (n=770,946) in which people are encouraged to vote through get-out-the-vote letters. We vary whether the let-ters include the message, “We may call you after the election to ask about your voting experience.” Increasing the perceived ob-servability of whether people vote by including that message increased the impact of the get-out-the-vote letters by more than the entire effect of a typical get-out-the-vote letter. This tech-nique for increasing perceived observability can be replicated whenever public goods solicitations are made in private.
Low rates of adherence to artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) regimens increase the risk of treatment failure and may lead to drug resistance, threatening the sustainability of current anti-malarial efforts. We assessed the impact of text message reminders on adherence to ACT regimens. Methods
Health workers at hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and other stationary ACT distributors in Tamale, Ghana provided flyers advertising free mobile health information to individuals receiving malaria treatment. The messaging system automatically randomized self-enrolled individuals to the control group or the treatment group with equal probability; those in the treatment group were further randomly assigned to receive a simple text message reminder or the simple reminder plus an additional statement about adherence in 12-hour intervals. The main outcome was self-reported adherence based on follow-up interviews occurring three days after treatment initiation. We estimated the impact of the messages on treatment completion using logistic regression. Results
1140 individuals enrolled in both the study and the text reminder system. Among individuals in the control group, 61.5% took the full course of treatment. The simple text message reminders increased the odds of adherence (adjusted OR 1.45, 95% CI [1.03 to 2.04], p-value 0.028). Receiving an additional message did not result in a significant change in adherence (adjusted OR 0.77, 95% CI [0.50 to 1.20], p-value 0.252). Conclusion
The results of this study suggest that a simple text message reminder can increase adherence to antimalarial treatment and that additional information included in messages does not have a significant impact on completion of ACT treatment. Further research is needed to develop the most effective text message content and frequency.
There is limited evidence on whether growing mobile phone availability in sub-Saharan Africa can be used to promote high adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART). This study tested the efficacy of short message service (SMS) reminders on adherence to ART among patients attending a rural clinic in Kenya. Design
A randomized controlled trial of four SMS reminder interventions with 48 weeks of follow-up. Methods
Four hundred and thirty-one adult patients who had initiated ART within 3 months were enrolled and randomly assigned to a control group or one of the four intervention groups. Participants in the intervention groups received SMS reminders that were either short or long and sent at a daily or weekly frequency. Adherence was measured using the medication event monitoring system. The primary outcome was whether adherence exceeded 90% during each 12-week period of analysis and the 48-week study period. The secondary outcome was whether there were treatment interruptions lasting at least 48 h. Results
In intention-to-treat analysis, 53% of participants receiving weekly SMS reminders achieved adherence of at least 90% during the 48 weeks of the study, compared with 40% of participants in the control group (P=0.03). Participants in groups receiving weekly reminders were also significantly less likely to experience treatment interruptions exceeding 48 h during the 48-week follow-up period than participants in the control group (81 vs. 90%, P = 0.03). Conclusion
These results suggest that SMS reminders may be an important tool to achieve optimal treatment response in resource-limited settings.
| 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.
Phone calls encouraging citizens to vote are staples of modern campaigns. Insights from psychological science can make these calls dramatically more potent while also generating opportunities to expand psychological theory. We present a field experiment conducted during the 2008 presidential election (N = 287,228) showing that facilitating the formation of a voting plan (i.e., implementation intentions) can increase turnout by 4.1 percentage points among those contacted, but a standard encouragement call and self-prediction have no significant impact. Among single-eligible-voter households, the formation of a voting plan increased turnout among persons contacted by 9.1 percentage points, whereas those in multiple-eligible-voter households were unaffected by all scripts. Some situational factors may organically facilitate implementation-intentions formation more readily than others; we present data suggesting that this could explain the differential treatment effect that we found. We discuss implications for psychological and political science, and public interventions involving implementation-intentions formation.
| N Malhotra, MR Michelson, T Rogers, A Valenzuela|
Dale and Strauss’s (DS) noticeable reminder theory (NRT) of voter mobilization posits that mobilization efforts that are highly noticeable and salient to potential voters, even if impersonal, can be successful. In an innovative experimental design, DS show that text messages substantially boost turnout, challenging previous claims that social connectedness is the key to increasing participation. We replicate DS’s research design and extend it in two key ways. First, whereas the treatment in DS’s experiment was a “warm” text message combined with contact, we test NRT more cleanly by examining the effect of “cold” text messages that are completely devoid of auxiliary interaction. Second, we test an implication of NRT that habitual voters should exhibit the largest treatment effects in lower salience elections whereas casual voters should exhibit the largest treatment effects in higher salience elections. Via these two extensions, we find support for NRT.
We tested whether providing adults with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) with daily Web-based access to their positive airway pressure (PAP) usage over 3 mo with or without a financial incentive in the first week improves adherence and functional outcomes.Academic- and community-based sleep centers.One hundred thirty-eight adults with newly diagnosed OSA starting PAP treatment.Participants were randomized to: usual care, usual care with access to PAP usage, or usual care with access to PAP usage and a financial incentive. PAP data were transmitted daily by wireless modem from the participants' PAP unit to a website where hours of usage were displayed. Participants in the financial incentive group could earn up to $30/day in the first week for objective PAP use ≥ 4 h/day.Mean hours of daily PAP use in the two groups with access to PAP usage data did not differ from each other but was significantly greater than that in the usual care group in the first week and over 3 mo (P < 0.0001). Average daily use (mean ± standard deviation) during the first week of PAP intervention was 4.7 ± 3.3 h in the usual care group, and 5.9 ± 2.5 h and 6.3 ± 2.5 h in the Web access groups with and without financial incentive respectively. Adherence over the 3-mo intervention decreased at a relatively constant rate in all three groups. Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire change scores at 3 mo improved within each group (P < 0.0001) but change scores of the two groups with Web access to PAP data were not different than those in the control group (P > 0.124).Positive airway pressure adherence is significantly improved by giving patients Web access to information about their use of the treatment. Inclusion of a financial incentive in the first week had no additive effect in improving adherence.
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.
The collection of delinquent fines is a vast and ongoing public administration challenge. In the United Kingdom, unpaid fines amount to more than 500 million pounds. Managing noncompliant accounts and dispatching bailiffs to collect fines in person is costly. This paper reports the results of a large randomized controlled trial, led by the UK Cabinet Office's Behavioural Insights Team, which was designed to test the effectiveness of mobile phone text messaging as an alternative method of inducing people to pay their outstanding fines. An adaptive trial design was used, first to test the effectiveness of text messaging against no treatment and then to test the relative effectiveness of alternative messages. Text messages, which are relatively inexpensive, are found to significantly increase average payment of delinquent fines. We found text messages to be especially effective when they address the recipient by name.
We report the results of a randomized field experiment aimed at improving the safety of long-distance mini-busses or matatus in Kenya. Our intervention combines evocative messages aimed at motivating passengers to speak up against bad driving with a lottery that rewards matatu drivers for keeping the stickers in place. Independent insurance claims data were collected for more than 2000 long-distance matatus before and after the intervention. Our results indicate that insurance claims fell by a half to two-thirds, from a baseline annual rate of about 10%, and that claims involving injury or death fell by 60%. While we are unable to identify the mechanism(s) underlying this effect, the intervention is more cost effective in reducing mortality than other documented public health interventions.
For this controlled trial, we randomly divided our sample population of 2,324 diabetics into four groups and sent each a different type of letter from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. To track and compare the responses of the different groups, we analyzed Medicaid claims data for each patient over the next year, noting payments for physician visits, blood tests and filled prescriptions. By the end of our one-year analysis period, the control group had caught up with the nudge recipients (not surprising in a population of diabetics, who are likely to have medical checkups over an extended period). There was no longer a significant difference in the number of prescriptions filled, whether as the result of physician visits or renewals of existing prescriptions. So it seems that the value of the nudge is actually in prompting recipients to act more quickly – which should have a positive effect on long-term health outcomes, particularly when extended across a population of millions.
| A Drexler, G Fischer, A Schoar|
Micro-entrepreneurs often lack the financial literacy required to make important financial decisions. We conducted a randomized evaluation with a bank in the Dominican Republic to compare the impact of two distinct programs: standard accounting training versus a simplified, rule-of-thumb training that taught basic financial heuristics. The rule-of-thumb training significantly improved firms' financial practices, objective reporting quality, and revenues. For micro-entrepreneurs with lower skills or poor initial financial practices, the impact of the rule-of-thumb training was significantly larger than that of the standard accounting training, suggesting that simplifying training programs might improve their effectiveness for less sophisticated individuals.
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.
Research suggests that the much higher HIV prevalence among young women in sub-Saharan Africa than among males of their age cohort is linked to the high prevalence of age-disparate sexual partnerships, and that incorrect beliefs about the relationship between age and HIV-risk are partly responsible. We report the results of an experiment that tests whether a simple, computer-based “HIV risk game” leads to better understanding of the relationship between HIV-risk and age among low-income South African adolescents than a version of the traditional “brochure approach” to dispensing information does. Our results are striking. The randomly assigned treatment group, which receives repeated doses of information about the link between age and HIV-risk as feedback to their own responses to simple questions about relative HIV-risk, is significantly more likely to correctly identify which of a pair of hypothetical men or women of different ages is more likely to have HIV than the control group. Subjects in the treatment group answer, on average, 1.65 times as many questions about HIV risk and age correctly as those in the control group. We also find that subjects’ (particularly female subjects’) beliefs about HIV risk among women are less accurate than their beliefs about HIV risk among men. Finally, a follow-up survey with no significant difference in attrition rates between those in the treatment and control groups, shows substantially higher information retention among treatment subjects than among control subjects.
| 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)
OBJECTIVE: More than 200 million children globally do not attain their developmental potential. We hypothesized that a parent training program could be integrated into primary health center visits and benefit child development. METHODS: We conducted a cluster randomized trial in the Caribbean (Jamaica, Antigua, and St Lucia). Fifteen centers were randomly assigned to the control (n = 250 mother-child pairs) and 14 to the intervention (n = 251 mother-child pairs) groups. Participants were recruited at the 6- to 8-week child health visit. The intervention used group delivery at 5 routine visits from age 3 to 18 months and comprised short films of child development messages, which were shown in the waiting area; discussion and demonstration led by community health workers; and mothers’ practice of activities. Nurses distributed message cards and a few play materials. Primary outcomes were child cognition, language, and hand-eye coordination and secondary outcomes were caregiver knowledge, practices, maternal depression, and child growth, measured after the 18-month visit. RESULTS: Eight-five percent of enrolled children were tested (control = 210, intervention = 216). Loss did not differ by group. Multilevel analyses showed significant benefits for cognitive development (3.09 points; 95% confidence interval: 1.31 to 4.87 points; effect size: 0.3 SDs). There were no other child benefits. There was a significant benefit to parenting knowledge (treatment effect: 1.59; 95% confidence interval: 1.01 to 2.17; effect size: 0.4). CONCLUSIONS: An innovative parenting intervention, requiring no additional clinic staff or mothers’ time, was integrated into health services, with benefits to child cognitive development and parent knowledge. This is a promising strategy that merits further evaluation at scale.
| Busso, Cristia, Humpage|
Many families fail to vaccinate their children despite the supply of these services at no cost. This study tests whether personal reminders can increase demand for vaccination. A field experiment was conducted in rural Guatemala in which timely reminders were provided to families whose children were due for a vaccine. The six-month intervention increased the probability of vaccination completion by 2.2 percentage points among all children in treatment communities. Moreover, for children in treatment communities who were due to receive a vaccine, and whose parents were expected to be reminded about that due date, the probability of vaccination completion increased by 4.6 percentage points. The cost of an additional child with complete vaccination due to the intervention is estimated at about $7.50.
To increase uptake of flu vaccines and maintain a healthy workforce during the 2016-17 flu season, New York City’s Behavioral Design Team (NYC BDT) partnered with WorkWell NYC to design behaviorally informed emails to encourage New York City employees to visit a worksite flu clinic. One version of the redesigned email used the strategy of “enhanced active choice,” whereby employees were prompted to make a choice that had a clear right answer. IMPACT
Behavioral emails more than doubled click-through rates and statistically increased appointment sign-ups. Most importantly, the enhanced active choice version of the email increased vaccine uptake by 5 percent at worksite locations.
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.
Recent severe weather events have increased concerns about growing flood risk and the resiliency of households in the floodplain, prompting efforts to improve preparedness and insurance coverage.
In 2014, only 48.6% of Nigeria's adult population had access to, and used, formal financial products.To make these products more accessible to people of all incomes, a major bank and a telecommunications company in Nigeria jointly launched a mobile bank account.
A randomized evaluation found that writing both a date and time increased the number of employees getting their flu shots.. Employees who received the more detailed "time plan" mailer were 4 percentage points more likely than those who received the standard mailer to get their shot (37.1% compared to 33.1%).
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%.
To help first-year students understand that the challenges they faced were neither unique to them nor evidence of personal failure, all incoming first-year students at SF State were asked to watch a three-minute video in which older students described the struggles they had faced and their routes to success.
there was a mismatch between the actual rent due date (the first of the month) and when renters perceived rent to be due (the 10 th of the month, when penalties kicked in).
A randomized evaluation found that presenting patients with a default, preselected influenced the type of end-of-life care patients chose. When the advance directed had no preselected option, 61% percent of patients chose comfort-oriented care.
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.
| PA Keller, B Harlam, George Loewenstein, Kevin Volpp|
Not adhering to medication regimens has individual, public health, and economic consequences. While helpful automatic prescription refill programs are widely available, few individuals enroll.
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.
| Fiorello, Potok, Wright|
ideas42 redesigned four aspects of the CARD Bank system to increase savings: a new account opening form, a printed savings plan, reminders to make savings deposits, and a new savings calendar.
A randomized evaluation found that among families where both students and parents received the redesigned emails, 50% filed their financial aid application by the priority deadline.
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.
Past research indicates there is a positive relationship between parental involvement and students' success in school, but communication between educators and parents is often infrequent or unsystematic.
A randomized evaluation found that households which received letters comparing water consumption to their local neighbors reduced water consumption by 1.5 m 3 (from 28 to 26.5 m 3).
A randomized evaluation found that workers who received their earmarked savings in two envelopes saved an average of 414 rupees, or 72% more than the 241 rupees saved by workers who received their savings in one envelope.
Project Summary. The Queensland Government tested the impact of three different behaviorally informed letter designs on response rates. Impact. 21.8-24.8% of people responded to one of the intervention letters, compared to 5.3% who responded to the traditional control letter.
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.
Students were instructed to download a smartphone app that, over a period of weeks, delivered timely reminders and simple instructions about important deadlines and upcoming tasks related to applying for financial aid.
| Dean Karlan, M McConnell, S Mullainathan, J Zinman|
Management Science, Volume 62 No. 12 pp. 3393-3411
Randomized evaluations in each country found that clients who were sent reminders had saved more and were more likely to have reached their savings goals by the commitment end dates (around a year after opening accounts) than clients who did not receive the messages.
| 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.
Traditionally, utility companies have tried to promote energy conservation by providing subsidies for energy-efficient appliances. But recently there has been an increased focus on influencing consumer behavior.
A randomized evaluation found that on average, borrowers who were sent redesigned monthly statements and strategically timed reminders received 23% fewer penalties for having insufficient funds in their loan repayment
This randomized evaluation found that the average aid award for students receiving both redesigned emails rose by 2%, or $150.28 per student for the Spring semester, compared to students who received neither email ($6,368 vs. $6,217).
| Karlan, Morten, Zinman|
Behavioral Science & Policy, Volume 2, Issue 2, 2016
A randomized evaluation found that most of the messages failed to achieve any significant result on loan repayment. The only message that increased repayment rates was a positive framing and the inclusion of the account officer's name.
| Johan Egebark, E Mathias|
We conducted a natural field experiment to evaluate two resource conservation programs. One intervention consisted of a moral appeal message asking university employees to cut back on printing in general, and to use double-sided printing whenever possible. The other intervention tested whether people׳s tendency to stick with pre-set alternatives is applicable to resource use: at random points in time we changed the default setting on the university printers, from single-sided to double-sided printing. Whereas the moral appeal had no impact, the default change cut paper use by 15 percent. Further analysis adds two important insights. First, we show that defaults influence behavior also in the longer run. Second, we present results indicating that resource efficient defaults have the advantage of avoiding unintended behavioral responses. Overall, our findings send a clear message to anyone concerned about resource conservation: there are potentially large gains to be made from small interventions.
A randomized evaluation found that the redesigned emails increased the number of students applying for SEED jobs by 3 percentage points, from 9% to 12%.Additionally, there was a 56% increase in the number of applications submitted, from 304 to 475 applications.