Academic Papers

The work presented here is conducted directly in pursuit of new scientific knowledge and academic publication. Most of these experiments underwent rigorous lab or field testing.

All of our academic papers are viewable below either by scrolling, or filtering along the criteria of your choice.

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  • Array ( [title] => Value for money? Community Targeting in Vote-Buying and Politician Accountability [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => American University [1] => Stanford University [2] => Harvard University [3] => World Bank ) [url] => https://www.nber.org/papers/w24194.pdf [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya [1] => United States of America ) [sector] => Political Participation and Accountability [authors] => Array ( [0] => Jessica Leight [1] => Dana Foarta [2] => Rohini Pande [3] => Laura Ralston ) [abstract] => Community targeting of vote payments — defined as the saturation of entire neighborhoods with cash prior to elections — is widespread in the developing world. In this paper, we utilize laboratory experiments conducted in the U.S. and Kenya to demonstrate that, relative to individual targeting, a vote-buying regime that distributes payments widely renders voters more tolerant of politician rent-seeking, and increases the level of politician rent-seeking observed in equilibrium. The most parsimonious model of preferences consistent with these patterns is a model in which both politicians and voters are characterized by multifaceted social preferences, encompassing reciprocity, altruism, and inequality aversion. )

    Accountability

    Value for money? Community Targeting in Vote-Buying and Politician Accountability

    • Authors: Jessica LeightDana FoartaRohini PandeLaura Ralston
    • Country: KenyaUnited States of America
  • Array ( [title] => Deterrence and Legitimacy in Anti-Corruption Policy making [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => African Development Bank [1] => Dublin City University Business School [2] => Hanken School of Economics ) [url] => https://www.afdb.org/fileadmin/uploads/afdb/Documents/Publications/WPS_No_277_Deterrence_and_Legitimacy_in_Anti-Corruption_Policymaking__.pdf [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Political Participation and Accountability [authors] => Array ( [0] => Amadou Boly [1] => Robert Gillanders [2] => Topi Miettinen ) [abstract] => In our framed laboratory experiment, two Public Officials, A and B, make consecutive decisions regarding embezzlement from separate funds. Official B observes Official A’s decisions before making his/her own. We find a contagion effect in embezzlement in that facing a corrupt Official A increases the likelihood and extent of embezzlement by Official B. Likewise, deterrence matters in that higher detection probabilities significantly decrease the likelihood and extent of embezzlement. Crucially, when the same deterrence policy applies to both officials, detection is more effective in curbing embezzlement if chosen by an honest public official A rather than a corrupt Public Official A. This legitimacy effect may help explain why anticorruption policies can fail in countries where the government itself is believed (or known) to be corrupt. )

    Accountability

    Deterrence and Legitimacy in Anti-Corruption Policy making

    • Authors: Amadou BolyRobert GillandersTopi Miettinen
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => Noise, Cognitive Function, and Worker Productivity [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => Massachusetts Institute of Technology ) [url] => https://economics.mit.edu/files/13747 [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Work and Productivity [authors] => Array ( [0] => Joshua T. Dean ) [abstract] => Abstract not available )

    Cognitive Ability / Executive Function

    Noise, Cognitive Function, and Worker Productivity

    • Authors: Joshua T. Dean
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => The Impact of Recipient Choice on Aid Effectiveness [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => Busara Center for Behavioral Economics ) [url] => https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30944504 [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Methods/Measurement [authors] => Array ( [0] => Jeremy Shapiro ) [abstract] => This study compares the impact of several common development programs (agricultural extension, subsidized agricultural inputs and poultry transfers) to cash transfers equal to the cost of each program. Prior to program delivery, recipients were asked their valuation for each program (i.e., their cash indifference point between cash and the program) as a proxy for their preference between cash and the program. Subsequently, recipients were randomly assigned to receive cash or a program. Six months after delivery of cash and programs, we do not find that individuals who receive the intervention they value most are different from others in terms of consumption, food security, assets, psychological well-being or feelings of autonomy, and can rule out effects of any meaningful size. When comparing cash transfers directly to common development programs, the point estimates indicate no difference in impacts and confidence intervals rule out large differences. We do find that cash transfers increase feelings of autonomy and respect compared to non-cash interventions. )

    Dignity

    The Impact of Recipient Choice on Aid Effectiveness

    • Authors: Jeremy Shapiro
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => Ethnically Biased? Experimental Evidence from Kenya [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => Norwegian School of Economics [1] => BI Norwegian Business School [2] => University of California [3] => Berkeley [4] => University of California [5] => Los Angeles [6] => Stanford University ) [url] => http://danielnposner.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Ethnic-Pref_20170706_KZ_DP-EM_KB.pdf [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Social Cohesion [authors] => Array ( [0] => Lars Ivar Oppedal Berge [1] => Kjetil Bjorvatn [2] => Simon Galle [3] => Edward Miguel [4] => Daniel Posner [5] => Berti Tunggoden [6] => Kelly Zhang ) [abstract] => Ethnicity has been shown to shape political, social, and economic behavior in Africa, but the underlying mechanisms remain contested. We utilize lab experiments to isolate one mechanism—an individual’s bias in favor of coethnics and against non-coethnics—that has been central in both theory and in the conventional wisdom about the impact of ethnicity. We employ an unusually rich research design involving a large sample of 1,300 subjects from Nairobi, Kenya; the collection of multiple rounds of experimental data with varying proximity to national elections; within-lab priming conditions; both standard and novel experimental measures of coethnic bias; and an implicit association test (IAT). Our tests find very little evidence of explicit or implicit coethnic bias in the behavioral experiments and IAT. These results run against the common presumption of extensive coethnic bias among ordinary Africans and suggest that mechanisms other than coethnic bias must account for the strong associations we see in the region between ethnicity and political, social and economic outcomes. )

    Implicit / Explicit Bias

    Ethnically Biased? Experimental Evidence from Kenya

    • Authors: Lars Ivar Oppedal BergeKjetil BjorvatnSimon GalleEdward MiguelDaniel PosnerBerti TunggodenKelly Zhang
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => Evaluating the impacts of WorkShop access for small-scale craftsmen in Kenya [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => Busara Center for Behavioral Economics ) [url] => https://jeremypshapiro.appspot.com/papers/WorkShop%20Results%2020170911_CJ.pdf [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Work and Productivity [authors] => Array ( [0] => Jeremy Shapiro [1] => Chaning Jang ) [abstract] => How do we inspire innovation and growth in the informal manufacturing industry in the developing world? We investigate relieving both physical capital and human capital constraints among informal woodworkers in Nairobi, Kenya. WorkShop, a tool library project in Nairobi, offered a group of woodworkers a high-intensity treatment consisting of five-weeks of training and access to shared, industrial-grade woodworking tools. Another group was provided with a low-intensity treatment, consisting of a digital training application. We find that the high-intensity treatment creates large and significant increases in innovation outcomes such as the number of new designs, and the likelihood of purchasing new tools. More modest improvements result from the digital app alone. Overall we find that simultaneous relief of both physical and human capital can spur innovation, however results in financial outcomes, such as firm profits, are inconclusive. )

    Motivation / Innovation

    Evaluating the impacts of WorkShop access for small-scale craftsmen in Kenya

    • Authors: Jeremy ShapiroChaning Jang
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => The Short-Term Impact of Unconditional Cash Transfers to the Poor: Experimental Evidence from Kenya [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => Princeton University [1] => Busara Center for Behavioral Economics ) [url] => https://academic.oup.com/qje/article/131/4/1973/2468874 [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Financial Services [authors] => Array ( [0] => Johannes Haushofer [1] => Jeremy Shapiro ) [abstract] => We use a randomized controlled trial to study the response of poor households in rural Kenya to unconditional cash transfers from the NGO GiveDirectly. The transfers differ from other programs in that they are explicitly unconditional, large, and concentrated in time. We randomized at both the village and household levels; furthermore, within the treatment group, we randomized recipient gender (wife versus husband), transfer timing (lump-sum transfer versus monthly installments), and transfer magnitude (US$404 PPP versus US$1,525 PPP). We find a strong consumption response to transfers, with an increase in household monthly consumption from $158 PPP to $193 PPP nine months after the transfer began. Transfer recipients experience large increases in psychological well-being. We find no overall effect on levels of the stress hormone cortisol, although there are differences across some subgroups. Monthly transfers are more likely than lump-sum transfers to improve food security, whereas lump-sum transfers are more likely to be spent on durables, suggesting that households face savings and credit constraints. Together, these results suggest that unconditional cash transfers have significant impacts on economic outcomes and psychological well-being. )

    Psychological Well Being

    The Short-Term Impact of Unconditional Cash Transfers to the Poor: Experimental Evidence from Kenya

    • Authors: Johannes HaushoferJeremy Shapiro
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => The Long-Term Impact of Unconditional Cash Transfers to the Poor: Experimental Evidence from Kenya [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => Princeton University [1] => Busara Center for Behavioral Economics ) [url] => http://jeremypshapiro.com/papers/Haushofer_Shapiro_UCT2_2018-01-30_paper_only.pdf [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Financial Services [authors] => Array ( [0] => Johannes Haushofer [1] => Jeremy Shapiro ) [abstract] => This paper describes the impacts of unconditional cash transfers distributed on economic and psychological outcomes three years after the beginning of the program. Using a randomized controlled trial, we find that transfer recipients have higher levels of asset holdings, consumption, food security and psychological well-being relative to non-recipients in the same village. The effects are similar in magnitude to those observed in a previous study nine months after the beginning of the program. Comparing recipient households to non-recipients in distant villages, we find that transfer recipients have 40% more assets (USD 422 PPP) than control households three years after the transfer, equivalent to 60% of the initial transfer (USD 709 PPP). In contrast, other outcomes do not show significant treatment effects in the across-village analysis, possibly owing to lower power and within-village spillovers. We do find some spillover effects. Households impacted by spillovers have lower consumption and food security than pure control households, perhaps due to the sale of productive assets. Estimates of spillover effects on other outcomes are inconclusive due to differential attrition between spillover and pure control households. We also find little evidence of differential treatment effects depending on the transfer design (whether transfers are made men or women, in monthly payments or a single lump-sum, or a large or small transfer). Thus, cash transfers result in sustained increases in assets. Long-term impacts on other dimensions, and potential spillover effects, remain to be substantiated by future work. )

    Psychological Well Being

    The Long-Term Impact of Unconditional Cash Transfers to the Poor: Experimental Evidence from Kenya

    • Authors: Johannes HaushoferJeremy Shapiro
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => Workfare, Wellbeing and Consumption: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Kenya’s Urban Poor [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => Swarthmore College [1] => Busara Center for Behavioral Economics, ideas42 ) [url] => https://marketing.wharton.upenn.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Paper-Bhanot-Han-Jang-12.14.16.pdf [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Work and Productivity [authors] => Array ( [0] => Syon P. Bhanot [1] => Jiyoung Han [2] => Chaning Jang ) [abstract] => Workfare and vouchers are often used in social welfare systems, but little empirical evidence exists on their impact on wellbeing. We conducted a randomized experiment in Kenya, and tested two elements of social welfare design: workfare versus welfare and restricted versus unrestricted vouchers. Participants were randomly assigned to a “Work” condition, involving work for unrestricted vouchers, or one of two "Wait" conditions, involving waiting for vouchers that were either unrestricted or restricted to staple foods. We find that working significantly improved psychological wellbeing relative to waiting. Furthermore, although the restrictions were infra-marginal, partially restricted vouchers crowded-in spending on staple foods. )

    Psychological Well Being

    Workfare, Wellbeing and Consumption: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Kenya’s Urban Poor

    • Authors: Syon P. BhanotJiyoung HanChaning Jang
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => Atheist Messages Reduce Religiosity and Subjective Wellbeing [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => Princeton University [1] => University of California, Los Angeles ) [url] => https://www.princeton.edu/haushofer/publications/Haushofer_Reisinger_Atheism_2019.pdf [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Social Cohesion [authors] => Array ( [0] => Johannes Haushofer [1] => James Reisinger ) [abstract] => In recent years, atheism has grown in popularity, partly inspired by the rise to prominence of a group of public intellectuals called the “New Atheists” who argue against religion in public fora. What are the social consequences of this development? We test in a laboratory study in Kenya whether exposure to atheist arguments affects self-reported and implicit religiosity, subjective wellbeing, and self-reported tolerance of different social groups. We find a significant negative effect of emotional arguments against religion on both self-reported and implicit measures of religiosity, especially among men, but no effect of scientific appeals. Subjective wellbeing is strongly reduced after emotional atheist messages, again especially among men, suggesting that emotional atheist arguments may have a wellbeing cost. We find no effects of atheism messages on self-reported tolerance. Together, these results suggest that emotional atheist arguments reduce religiosity and subjective wellbeing, especially among men. )

    Psychological Well Being

    Atheist Messages Reduce Religiosity and Subjective Wellbeing

    • Authors: Johannes HaushoferJames Reisinger
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => Your Gain Is My Pain: Negative Psychological Externalities of Cash Transfers [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => Princeton University [1] => Busara Center for Behavioral Economics ) [url] => https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Your-Gain-Is-My-Pain-%3A-Negative-Psychological-of-%E2%88%97-Haushofer-Reisinger/18932202731ec94277738f92d4249f50df20cb86 [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Social Cohesion [authors] => Array ( [0] => Johannes Haushofer [1] => James Reisinger [2] => Jeremy Shapiro ) [abstract] => We use a randomized controlled trial of unconditional cash transfers in Kenya to study the effects of exogenous changes in the wealth of neighbors on psychological wellbeing, consumption, and assets. We find that increases in neighbors’ wealth strongly decrease life satisfaction and moderately decrease consumption and asset holdings. The decrease in life satisfaction induced by transfers to neighbors more than offsets the direct positive effect of transfers, and is largest for individuals who did not receive a direct transfer themselves. We find evidence of hedonic adaptation, in that the negative spillover effect of transfers to neighbors decreases over time, at a rate similar to that of direct transfers. )

    Psychological Well Being

    Your Gain Is My Pain: Negative Psychological Externalities of Cash Transfers

    • Authors: Johannes HaushoferJames ReisingerJeremy Shapiro
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => Can Positive Psychology Improve Psychological Wellbeing and Economic Decision-Making? [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => The University of Melbourne [1] => Princeton University [2] => Busara Center for Behavioral Economics ) [url] => https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxtFsVfnlIxKMnRhOVlIRHdzck0/view [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Households / Health and Welfare [authors] => Array ( [0] => Victoria Baranov [1] => Johannes Haushofer [2] => Chaning Jang ) [abstract] => We conduct a randomized experiment to evaluate the effect of a light-touch psychological intervention on psychological wellbeing and economic decision-making in a developing- country setting. Numerous psychological studies suggest that simple, light-touch interventions are effective in improving psychological wellbeing, particularly in sub-clinical populations. However, little is known about the effectiveness of such interventions in developing country populations or whether improvements in psychological wellbeing affect economic decision-making. Both our setting and such interventions–due to their scalability– are of particular interest because low psychological wellbeing is thought to be a barrier to development. Residents of an informal settlement in Kenya were randomly assigned to either a control condition, or an experimental condition in which they participated in a combination of psychological exercises aimed at improving psychological wellbeing over the course of two weeks. Thepsychological interventions consisted of a “Count Your Blessings” exercise encouraging participants to recall and write down five good things about their life every day, a "self-affirmation" exercise in which participants wrote about their talents, and an "aspirations" exercise in which they were encouraged to think about their life goals. While we find a significant 0.3SD increase in gratitude, confirming the psychological manipulation worked as intended, we find little evidence that the intervention affected overall psychological wellbeing, beliefs, or aspirations. We also see no effects on real-incentive tasks measuring cognitive control or temporal discounting. Together, our findings suggest that light-touch psychological exercises may have limited impacts on broader psychological wellbeing or economic decision-making. )

    Psychological Well Being

    Can Positive Psychology Improve Psychological Wellbeing and Economic Decision-Making?

    • Authors: Victoria BaranovJohannes HaushoferChaning Jang
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => Risky Environments, Hidden Knowledge and Preferences for Contract Flexibility [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => Georg-August-University of Göttingen ) [url] => https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/110460/1/826258050.pdf [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Work and Productivity [authors] => Array ( [0] => Sebastian Kunte [1] => Meike Wollni ) [abstract] => Contract flexibility can be expedient for economic exchange in environments with high ambiguity and risk, but may also encourage opportunistic behavior. We run a modified investment game, including the choice between two different contract designs and asymmetric information about the realized surplus (i.e., hidden knowledge). We examine if Nairobi slum dwellers choose flexible over rigid contracts when interacting in risky environments and whether preferences for contract flexibility are sensitive to the exogenous probability of experiencing a negative shock. We find that most interaction is realized through flexible agreements. Principals offer a higher level of flexibility if the likelihood of a shock is high, relative to the low-risk environment. Agents are somewhat more reluctant to sign rigid agreements when facing the threat of a bad state. While agents and the overall efficiency benefit from higher flexibility, principals always do better by opting for a rigid contract. )

    Risk Preferences

    Risky Environments, Hidden Knowledge and Preferences for Contract Flexibility

    • Authors: Sebastian KunteMeike Wollni
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => Imperfect Monitoring and Informal Risk Sharing: The Role of Social Ties [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => University of Michigan ) [url] => http://ses.wsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Prachi-Jain-JMP-Imperfect-Monitoring-Risk-Sharing.pdf [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Social Cohesion [authors] => Array ( [0] => Prachi Jain ) [abstract] => This paper examines whether social ties sustain informal insurance when there is imperfect monitoring of effort. I use a laboratory experiment, implemented with residents of slums in Nairobi, Kenya, that captures features of a model of risk sharing and effort provision. Overall, I find that individuals are 7% less likely to engage in risk sharing as a result of imperfect monitoring of effort. When effort cannot be observed socially close individuals engage in substantially more risk sharing than socially distant pairs. Participants who know their partner outside the experiment are 31% more likely to engage in risk sharing than those who do not know their partner when effort cannot be observed. Thus, this is the first paper to examine the effects of imperfect monitoring on risk sharing and to provide evidence that social ties sustain cooperation when there is asymmetric information regarding effort. )

    Risk Preferences

    Imperfect Monitoring and Informal Risk Sharing: The Role of Social Ties

    • Authors: Prachi Jain
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => Motives to Share: Evidence from a Risk Sharing: Experiment in Kenya [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => Princeton University ) [url] => https://drive.google.com/file/d/18hhk6t-VzGTWQ2CGvA3PRXJYo_Vp_VBs/view [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Social Cohesion [authors] => Array ( [0] => Prachi Jain ) [abstract] => Informal transfers are widely used by poor households in developing countries and may occur for a variety of reasons including informal insurance, social preferences and social pressure. I examine these motives using a laboratory experiment with residents from the informal settlements of Nairobi. In the experiment, participants face risk and can make transfers to each other. In the experiment, sharing of income may occur due to reasons of informal insurance as well as reasons of social preferences and social pressure that have previously been examined. I find that imperfect informal insurance fits 73% of transfers. Warm glow altruism, measured as behavior in an anonymous dictator game, best fits the pattern of the transfers that cannot be explain by informal insurance. )

    Risk Preferences

    Motives to Share: Evidence from a Risk Sharing: Experiment in Kenya

    • Authors: Prachi Jain
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => Does Voluntary Risk Taking Affect Solidarity? Experimental Evidence from Kenya [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => University of Basel ) [url] => https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3023224 [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Social Cohesion [authors] => Array ( [0] => Renate Strobl [1] => Conny Wunsch ) [abstract] => In this study we experimentally investigate whether solidarity, which is a crucial base for informal insurance arrangements in developing countries, is sensitive to the extent to which individuals can influence their risk exposure. With slum dwellers of Nairobi our design measures subjects’ willingness to share income with a worse-off partner both in a setting where participants could either deliberately choose or were randomly assigned to a safe or a risky project. We find that only a subgroup of subjects reduces willingness to give when risk exposure is a choice. Responses are limited to donors in the risky project, whereas donors in the safe project do not adjust their willingness to give. This difference in behaviour can be explained by differential giving in the absence of choice. Lucky winners with the risky project show a particularly high degree of solidarity with unlucky losers compared to donors and partners assigned to the safe project when they face risk for exogenous reasons. The possibility of free project choice removes these differences in generosity and we show that this is driven by attributions of responsibility for neediness. Our results suggest that crowding out of informal support might be less severe than suggested by the studies from Western countries and the evidence on formal insurance from developing countries. )

    Solidarity / Group Participation

    Does Voluntary Risk Taking Affect Solidarity? Experimental Evidence from Kenya

    • Authors: Renate StroblConny Wunsch
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => An Experimental Study of Diversity Management Techniques [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => Groundtruth ) [url] => https://static1.squarespace.com/static/53d88d2be4b08b2eaf666cb6/t/54b4875de4b0197d5e910341/1421117277183/Jeon+2014+diversity+management+v2015-01-12.pdf [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Social Cohesion [authors] => Array ( [0] => Sangick Jeon ) [abstract] => A novel field experiment is used to evaluate two competing strategies for managing ethnic diversity: (1) assimilationist strategies, which encourage the construction of shared, superordinate social identities (e.g., based on a team or nation), and (2) multiculturalist strategies, which aim to foster beliefs that ethnic differences are valuable. Results from Kenya indicate that assimilationist approaches are more effective at minimizing diversity’s social costs, such as discrimination and reduced cohesion. But multiculturalist approaches are better at maximizing diversity’s economic benefits, such as increased creativity and problem-solving capabilities. I also provide evidence that the productivity gains from ethnic diversity are larger than the gains from age, birthplace, gender, and religious diversity, and driven by skill complementarities between ethnic groups. These findings provide an empirical foundation for adjudicating between competing theories about diversity’s costs and benefits, and strategies for managing them. )

    Solidarity / Group Participation

    An Experimental Study of Diversity Management Techniques

    • Authors: Sangick Jeon
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => Redistribution and Group Participation: Experimental Evidence from Africa and the UK [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => Stanford University [1] => World Bank ) [url] => https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/ea80/452cb7a7d053ec2bdaeb0e7a6626f7dd21c9.pdf [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya [1] => Uganda [2] => United Kingdom ) [sector] => Social Cohesion [authors] => Array ( [0] => Marcel Fafchamps [1] => Ruth Vargas Hill ) [abstract] => We design an original laboratory experiment to investigate whether redistributive actions hinder the formation of Pareto-improving groups. We test, in an anonymous setting with no feedback, whether people choose to destroy or steal the endowment of others and whether they choose to give to others, when granted the option. We then test whether subjects join a group that increases their endowment but exposes them to redistribution. We conduct the experiment in three very di§erent settings with a priori di§erent norms of pro-social behavior. )

    Solidarity / Group Participation

    Redistribution and Group Participation: Experimental Evidence from Africa and the UK

    • Authors: Marcel FafchampsRuth Vargas Hill
    • Country: KenyaUgandaUnited Kingdom
  • Array ( [title] => Religion as a Stimulant of Political Participation: Experimental Evidence from Nairobi, Kenya [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => Harvard University [1] => Northwestern University ) [url] => https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/682717 [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Political Participation and Accountability [authors] => Array ( [0] => Gwyneth McClendon [1] => Rachel Beatty Riedl ) [abstract] => In this article we explore how certain religious messages may spur or constrain political participation. Specifically, we test whether religious messages that provide individuals a positive self-image can act as stimulants, giving people a sense of internal efficacy to participate in politics. We explore this hypothesis through a novel experimental design in Nairobi, Kenya. We find that exposure to self-affirmation messages typical of Pentecostal and Charismatic churches motivated participation in a political text message campaign. We discuss implications of these findings for politics in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as for the study of religion and politics more generally. )

    Solidarity / Group Participation

    Religion as a Stimulant of Political Participation: Experimental Evidence from Nairobi, Kenya

    • Authors: Gwyneth McClendonRachel Beatty Riedl
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => Self-Efficacy as a Driver of Civic Participation in Uganda [affiliation] => [url] => https://busara-microsite.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/SelfEfficacy_HornKeyman.pdf [location] => Array ( [0] => Uganda ) [sector] => Self-Efficacy [authors] => Array ( [0] => Samantha Horn [1] => Ariana Keyman ) [abstract] => We find that exposure to a self-efficacy intervention can motivate informationseeking action for environmental causes. Self-efficacy has been shown to be a powerful driver of behavior in a variety of contexts but there has been limited investigation into how self-efficacy is best induced in experimental settings. This study has two main aims. First it seeks to establish if interventions designed to increase self-efficacy can have an impact on outcomes related to civic participation, and second, it seeks to evaluate whether two selected methods of inducing self-efficacy result in different outcomes. )

    Solidarity / Group Participation

    Self-Efficacy as a Driver of Civic Participation in Uganda

    • Authors: Samantha HornAriana Keyman
    • Country: Uganda
  • Array ( [title] => Peace of Mind: Health Insurance Reduces Stress and Cortisol Levels [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => Princeton University [1] => McGill University [2] => Busara Center for Behavioral Economics ) [url] => https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/2b87/91d83e91a8dca06c5d0becdcb054f31d7d43.pdf [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Financial Services [authors] => Array ( [0] => Johannes Haushofer [1] => Matthieu Chemin [2] => Chaning Jang [3] => Justin Abraham (2017) ) [abstract] => We show that the provision of health insurance reduces levels of self-reported stress and the stress hormone cortisol using a randomized controlled trial among informal workers in Nairobi, Kenya. The effects of health insurance on cortisol and stress levels are larger than those of equally valued unconditional cash transfers, and are not mediated by changes in economic outcomes, health or healthcare usage, or variables that confound cortisol. These results suggest that insurance may reduce stress and cortisol levels through a “peace of mind” effect. This hypothesis receives support from the fact that the median insurance taker does not use the insurance; that insurance has larger effects on more vulnerable individuals; and that insurance improves sleep. )

    Stress

    Peace of Mind: Health Insurance Reduces Stress and Cortisol Levels

    • Authors: Johannes HaushoferMatthieu CheminChaning JangJustin Abraham (2017)
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => How to help the poor save a bit [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => Duke University [1] => Aliya Analytics [2] => World Bank [3] => IZA ) [url] => http://ftp.iza.org/dp10024.pdf [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Financial Services [authors] => Array ( [0] => Merve Akbas [1] => Dan Ariely [2] => David A. Robalino [3] => Michael Weber ) [abstract] => Worldwide, the majority of workers hold jobs in the informal sector that do not provide access to social insurance programs. We partnered with a savings product provider in Kenya to test the extent to which behavioral interventions and financial incentives can increase the saving rate through a voluntary pension program for informal workers with low and irregular income. Our experiment lasted for six months and included a total of twelve conditions. The control condition received weekly reminders and balance reporting via text messages. The treatment conditions received in addition one of the following interventions: (1) reminder text messages framed as if they came from the participant’s kid (2) a golden colored coin with numbers for each week of the trial, on which participants were asked to keep track of their weekly deposits (3) a match of weekly savings: The match was either 10% or 20% up to a certain amount per week. The match was either deposited at the end of each week or the highest possible match was deposited at the start of each week and was adjusted at the end. Among these interventions, by far the most effective was the coin: Those in the coin condition saved on average the highest amount and more than twice as those in the control condition. We hypothesize that being a tangible track-keeping object; the coin made subjects remember to save more often. Our results support the line of literature suggesting that saving decisions involve psychological aspects and that policy makers and product designers should take these influences into account. )

    Temporal Discounting

    How to help the poor save a bit

    • Authors: Merve AkbasDan ArielyDavid A. RobalinoMichael Weber
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => Using Lotteries to Encourage Savings: Experimental Evidence from Kenya [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => Princeton University [1] => Busara Center for Behavioral Economics [2] => Aliya Financial Technologies [3] => Duke University ) [url] => https://jrpabraham.github.io/assets/Abraham_Akbas_Ariely_Jang_2016.pdf [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Financial Services [authors] => Array ( [0] => Justin Abraham [1] => Merve Akbas [2] => Dan Ariely [3] => Chaning Jang ) [abstract] => In this study, we evaluate the provision of lottery-linked deposit accounts (LLDA) – a savings scheme incorporating lottery-like payoffs to traditional savings accounts. We provide a mobile savings product to 311 informal residents in Nairobi, Kenya and observe account activity over a 60-day period. We find that respondents with LLDAs made 42% more deposits on average over the project period than respondents receiving a matched incentive. This increase in account activity is due to respondents making more deposits per day in order to enter the lottery. We do not, however, observe any effects due to the lottery incentive on amount deposited over the project period. We show that when presented with potential winnings from previous days, respondents with LLDAs increased self-reported gambling activity by 15%. Our results suggest that LLDAs are a promising tool to improve savings among the poor and that product design has considerable implications on gambling behavior. )

    Temporal Discounting

    Using Lotteries to Encourage Savings: Experimental Evidence from Kenya

    • Authors: Justin AbrahamMerve AkbasDan ArielyChaning Jang
    • Country: Kenya
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  • Array ( [title] => Measuring Ethnic Biases: Comparing Tools from Behavioral Economics and Social Psychology [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => University of California [1] => Los Angeles ) [url] => http://danielnposner.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/BHP-paper-181220.pdf [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Methods/Measurement [authors] => Array ( [0] => Ashley Blum [1] => Chris Hazlett [2] => Daniel N. Posner ) [abstract] => Are behavioral economics games reliable tools for measuring ethnic biases? Empirical experiences with these tools, together with their vulnerability to self-presentational concerns and insensitivity to more automatic associative or emotional reactions, raise questions as to what biases they might not detect. We recruit experimental subjects in Nairobi, Kenya, testing their behavior in a set of common behavioral games together with their performance on a set of social psychology tasks designed to both resist social desirability bias and to capture a range of automatic associative and emotional reactions participants experience in response to non-coethnics. Our results suggest that there are ethnic biases within this group and context, likely reflecting positive/negative feelings and threat perception toward non-coethnics, that standard behavioral games fail to detect. We conclude that researchers interested in measuring ethnic biases of various types should consider adding the social psychology tasks to their tool kits. )

    Implicit / Explicit Bias

    Measuring Ethnic Biases: Comparing Tools from Behavioral Economics and Social Psychology

    • Authors: Ashley BlumChris HazlettDaniel N. Posner
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => Risky Choices and Solidarity: Why Experimental Design Matters [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => University of Basel [1] => CEPR [2] => CESifo [3] => IZA ) [url] => http://ftp.iza.org/dp11641.pdf [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Methods/Measurement [authors] => Array ( [0] => Conny Wunsch [1] => Renate Strobl ) [abstract] => Negative income shocks can either be the consequence of risky choices or random events. A growing literature analyzes the role of responsibility for neediness for informal financial support of individuals facing negative income shocks based on randomized experiments. In this paper, we show that studying this question involves a number of challenges that existing studies either have not been aware of, or have been unable to address satisfactorily. We show that the average effect of free choice of risk on sharing, i.e. the comparison of mean sharing across randomized treatments, is not informative about the behavioural effects and that it is not possible to ensure by the experimental design that the average treatment effect equals the behavioural effect. Instead, isolating the behavioural effect requires conditioning on risk exposure. We show that a design that measures subjects preferred level of risk in all treatments allows isolating this effect without additional assumptions. Another advantage of our design is that it allows disentangling changes in giving behaviour due to attributions of responsibility for neediness from other explanations. We implement our design in a lab experiment we conducted with slum dwellers in Nairobi that measures subjects’ transfers to a worse-off partner both in a setting where participants could either deliberately choose or were randomly assigned to a safe or a risky project. We find that free choice matters for giving and that the effects depend on donors’ risk preferences but that attributions of responsibility play a negligible role in this context. )

    Risk Preferences

    Risky Choices and Solidarity: Why Experimental Design Matters

    • Authors: Conny WunschRenate Strobl
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => Measuring Self-Efficacy, Executive Function and Temporal Discounting in Kenya [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => Princeton University [1] => Busara Center for Behavioral Economics [2] => Stanford University [3] => University of Oxford [4] => University of California [5] => Berkeley [6] => Loyola Marymount University ) [url] => https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0005796717302061?via%3Dihub [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Methods/Measurement [authors] => Array ( [0] => Kristina Esopo [1] => Daniel Mellow [2] => Catherine Thomas [3] => Hannah Uckat [4] => Justin Abraham [5] => Prachi Jain [6] => Chaning Jang [7] => Nicholas Otis [8] => Michala Riis-Vestergaard [9] => Amanda Starcev [10] => Kate Orkin [11] => Johannes Haushofer ) [abstract] => Developing countries have low adherence to medical regimens like water chlorination or antenatal and postnatal care, contributing to high infant and child mortality rates. We hypothesize that high levels of stress affect adherence through temporal discounting, self-efficacy, and executive control. Measurement of these constructs in developing countries requires adaptation of existing measures. In the current study, we adapt psychological scales and behavioral tasks, measuring each of these three constructs, for use among adults in Kenya. We translated and back-translated each measure to Kiswahili and conducted cognitive interviewing to establish cultural acceptability, refined existing behavioral tasks, and developed new ones. Then, in a laboratory session lasting 3 h, participants completed the adapted psychological inventories and behavioral tasks. We report the psychometric properties of these measures. We find relatively low reliability and poor correlational evidence between psychological scales and behavioral tasks measuring the same construct, highlighting the challenges of adapting measures across cultures, and suggesting that assays within the same domain may tap distinct underlying processes. )

    Stress

    Measuring Self-Efficacy, Executive Function and Temporal Discounting in Kenya

    • Authors: Kristina EsopoDaniel MellowCatherine ThomasHannah UckatJustin AbrahamPrachi JainChaning JangNicholas OtisMichala Riis-VestergaardAmanda StarcevKate OrkinJohannes Haushofer
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => How Soon Is Now? Evidence of Present Bias from Convex Time Budget Experiments [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => University of Maryland [1] => Princeton University [2] => IZA ) [url] => https://editorialexpress.com/cgi-bin/conference/download.cgi?db_name=CSAE2016&paper_id=941 [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Methods/Measurement [authors] => Array ( [0] => Uttara Balakrishnan [1] => Johannes Haushofer [2] => Pamela Jakiela ) [abstract] => Empirically observed intertemporal choices about money have long been thought to exhibit present bias, i.e. higher short-term compared to long-term discount rates. Recently, this view has been called into question on both empirical and theoretical grounds, and a spate of recent findings suggest that present bias for money is minimal or non-existent when one allows for curvature in the utility function and transaction costs are tightly controlled. However, an alternative interpretation of many of these findings is that, in the interest of equalizing transaction costs across earlier and later payments, small delays were introduced between the time of the experiment and the soonest payment. As such, these tests of present-bias may not be sufficiently powerful. We conduct a laboratory experiment in Kenya in which we elicit time and risk preference parameters from 291 participants, using convex time budgets and tightly controlling for transaction costs. Importantly, we make the soonest payments truly immediate, using the Kenyan mobile money system M-Pesa to make real-time transfers to subjects’ phones. We find strong evidence of present bias, with estimates of the present bias parameter ranging from 0.901 to 0.937. This result suggests that present bias for money does in fact exist, but only for truly immediate payments. )

    Temporal Discounting

    How Soon Is Now? Evidence of Present Bias from Convex Time Budget Experiments

    • Authors: Uttara BalakrishnanJohannes HaushoferPamela Jakiela
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => Stress and Temporal Discounting: Do Domains Matter? [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => Princeton University [1] => University of Hawai‘i at Ma ̄noa ) [url] => https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/ab09/2e8d7601f72531a1a1044a8878e53ab70190.pdf?_ga=2.209805213.985881294.1562743914-17691202.1562743914 [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Methods/Measurement [authors] => Array ( [0] => Johannes Haushofer [1] => Chaning Jang [2] => John Lynham ) [abstract] => Recent work in behavioral economics has asked whether stress affects economic choice. Here we focus on the effects of stress on temporal discounting, for which previous studies have produced inconsistent results. We hypothesize that different types of stress may differentially affect discounting. To test this hypothesis, we conducted laboratory experiments in Nairobi, Kenya, in which we induce stress in three domains: social (Trier Social Stress test); physical (Cold Pressor Task); and economic (Centipede Game). We find that the social stressor decreases temporal discounting; the physical stressor has no effect; and the economic stressor increases temporal discounting. However, these effects track those of the stressors on self-reported stress and negative affect: the economic stressor increased stress, while the physical stressor had no effect, and the social stressor actually decreased it. Together, these results suggest that different types of stress affect discounting in the same way, but different stress induction protocols may not affect stress in the same way in different populations. )

    Temporal Discounting

    Stress and Temporal Discounting: Do Domains Matter?

    • Authors: Johannes HaushoferChaning JangJohn Lynham
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => Assessing the Reliability of Experimental Valuation Techniques [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => Busara Center for Behavioral Economics ) [url] => http://jeremypshapiro.com/papers/Benchmarking%20Aid%20Methods%20Study%2020170815.pdf [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Methods/Measurement [authors] => Array ( [0] => Jeremy Shapiro [1] => Chaning Jang ) [abstract] => This study tests the relative ability of common incentive compatible value elicitation techniques to reliably measure preferences from respondents. We also compare recipients’ stated valuations to the cost of each program and to the valuations of a population working in the development industry. We find that common incentive compatible techniques do not perform meaningfully better than simply posing a hypothetical question. )

    Willingness to Pay

    Assessing the Reliability of Experimental Valuation Techniques

    • Authors: Jeremy ShapiroChaning Jang
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => Benchmarking Development Programs: A Preference-Based Approach [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => Busara Center for Behavioral Economics ) [url] => https://jeremypshapiro.appspot.com/papers/Benchmarking_Aid_Preferences_201710101.pdf [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Methods/Measurement [authors] => Array ( [0] => Jeremy Shapiro ) [abstract] => This study proposes a preference-based benchmarking approach to assess trade-offs between alternative uses of aid dollars. We ask ~800 low-income Kenyans their valuation (in cash) for common aid and development programs. We compare recipients’ stated valuations to the cost of each program and to the valuations of a population working in the development industry. We find that recipients value some common programs less than the cost of delivery. On an absolute basis, development professionals also value certain interventions less than the cost of provision, but not always the same interventions as recipients. While development professionals and recipients are in accord on the raking of value for cost according to broad categories (e.g., public vs. private goods), they place different relative value weights on specific interventions. Thus, in a world with limited resources a portfolio of interventions selected by development professionals could be significantly less valuable in the eyes of recipients than recipients’ preferred allocation. )

    Willingness to Pay

    Benchmarking Development Programs: A Preference-Based Approach

    • Authors: Jeremy Shapiro
    • Country: Kenya
  • Array ( [title] => Market Convergence and Equilibrium in a Kenyan Informal Settlement [affiliation] => Array ( [0] => Princeton University [1] => University of Bern [2] => Switzerland ) [url] => http://www.princeton.edu/haushofer/publications/Haushofer_Zurlinden_2013.pdf [location] => Array ( [0] => Kenya ) [sector] => Methods/Measurement [authors] => Array ( [0] => Johannes Haushofer [1] => Noémie Zurlinden ) [abstract] => The economies of developing countries are often characterized by market failures, but the causes of these inefficiencies remain incompletely understood. Here we use an experimental approach to study market interactions in a developing country from first principles. In particular, we ask whether basic predictions of neoclassical price theory hold in a simple market with participants from an informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya. In developed countries, neoclassical price theory has been shown to accurately predict convergence and equilibrium in such markets. We use a classic double auction design, in which sellers set a price and buyers make a purchasing decision. All sellers have the same reservation price, and all buyers have the same, higher reservation price, creating a surplus. Since sellers have unlimited supply and buyers freely choose from which seller to buy, the predicted equilibrium transaction price is the sellers’ marginal cost. We find that both offer and transaction prices converge rapidly to the theoretically predicted equilibrium. We find evidence for learning-by-doing, in that sellers learn to optimally set prices in the first few rounds of the game. In addition, we find evidence for learning-by-observing: when buyers switch into the role of sellers, they set prices optimally from the very first round. Optimal behavior, and thus profits, are strongly correlated with cognitive skills, especially mathematical ability. Together, these results suggest that neoclassical price theory accurately predicts basic market interactions in developing countries. )

    Willingness to Pay

    Market Convergence and Equilibrium in a Kenyan Informal Settlement

    • Authors: Johannes HaushoferNoémie Zurlinden
    • Country: Kenya