Sunday, March 31, 2013

Nudge Database III

This is part 3 of the Nudge Database.
Part I || Part II || Part III || Part IV || Part V || Part VI || Part VII || Part VIII || Part IX ||  Part X || @Makeuya


21.
Nudge: RCT in Malawi where treatment groups received financial incentives to come pick up their HIV results.  
Even a tiny incentive doubled the % of people coming to collect their results compared to the control, before tapering off quickly as the incentive increased. 

Tags : financial incentives / HIV / Malawi  

Source: Thorton (2008), 'The Demand for, and Impact of, Learning HIV Status', The American Economic Review.  


22.
Nudge:  In 2 get-out-the-vote experiments, the authors find that messages emphasizing high expected turnout is more effective at motivating voters than messages emphasising low turnout. Important to note that this only measured voters’ stated willingness to vote, not whether they actually did so. 

Tags : voting / social proof / norms 

Source: Gerber & Rogers, (2009), ‘Descriptive Social Norms and Motivation to Vote: Everybody’s Voting and so Should You’, The Journal of Politics.


23.
Nudge:   A nice document that identifies the behavioral biases of consumers, insurers, regulators & politicians in an American insurance context and recommends strategies to overcome them. Unusually for economics, some of them are even realistic. Please see the link below for a nice summary.

Tags : insurance / nudges / Wharton  

Source:
Kunreuther et al. (2012), ‘Insurance and Behavioral Economics : Improving Decisions in the Most Misunderstood Industry’.


24. 
Nudge:   This is not a nudge per se but rather an area ripe for nudges. Cosmides & Tooby, building on earlier research, found dramatic differences in the ability of subjects to answer the famous medical diagnoses problem correctly depending on whether it was presented in a bayesian or frequentist frame.  
Bayesian framing (12% answered correctly) : “If a test to detect a disease whose prevalence is 1/1000 has a false positive rate of 5%, what is the chance that a person found to have a positive result actually has the disease, assuming that you know nothing about the person's symptoms or signs?”   

Frequentist framing (56% answered correctly): “1 out of every 1000 Americans has disease X. A test has been developed to detect when a person has disease X. Every time the test is given to a person who has the disease, the test comes out positive (i.e. the "true positive" rate is 100%. Sometimes the test comes out positive when it's given to a healthy person. Out of every 1000 healthy people, 50 of them test positive for the disease (i.e. the "false positive" rate is 5%). 1 out of every 1000 Americans has disease X. A test has been developed to detect when a person has disease X.  

Every time the test is given to a person who has the disease, the test comes out positive (i.e. the "true positive" rate is 100%. Sometimes the test comes out positive when it's given to a healthy person. Out of every 1000 healthy people, 50 of them test positive for the disease (i.e. the "false positive" rate is 5%).  

Given a sample of 1000 Americans. Given the info. above, how many people who test positive for the disease will actually have it? ___ out of ____.”  

There are other framings in the paper, the most effective of which has almost all subjects finding the correct answer. People seem to digest frequentist framings much more intuitively, at least in these areas. What are nudge implications of this? Framing of information given to doctors, judges, etc?   

Tags : frequentist / bayesian / framing  

Sources: Casscells et al. (1978), 'Interpretation by physicians of clinical laboratory results', The New England Journal of Medicine.

Cosmides & Tooby (1995), ‘Are  humans  good  intuitive  statisticians  after  all? Rethinking  some  conclusions  from  the  literature  on judgment  under  uncertainty’, Elsevier.


25. 
Nudge:   Employees were given the option to make a Quick Enrollment ™ decision to enroll in their 401(k) plan at pre-determined contribution rates and asset allocations. At one company Quick Enrollment tripled 401(k) participation rates among new employees 3 months after hire. In keeping with the other works on pensions, simplification is a major factor here.  

Tags: pensions / defaults / savings  

Source: Choi et al (2006), ‘Reducing the Complexity Costs of 401(k) Participation Through Quick Enrollment', NBER Working Paper.


26. 
Nudge:  CARES  was a voluntary commitment product to help people quit smoking. Smokers got a savings account in which they put their money for 6 months, after which they take a urine test. If they pass, their money is returned without interest. If they fail, the money goes to charity. The authors found those offered CARES were more likely to 3% points more likely quit smoking after 6 months. 

Tags : smoking  / commitment  / CARES  

Source:
GinĂ© et al. (2008), ‘Put Your Money Where Your Butt Is: A Commitment Contract for Smoking Cessation’, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.


27.
Nudge: Field experiments on the effectivenss of normative messages designed to promote towel re-use in hotel rooms. The control received the message “This hotel has initiated a conservation program.” An example of a treatment normative message was “Nearly 75% of hotel guests choose to reuse their towels each day. To support our guests who want to conserve, this hotel has initiated a conservation program.”  The authors find evidence of behavior change in the treatment groups but note the overlapping confidence intervals.

Tags : social norms / hotel towels / energy efficiency  

Source: Schultz et al (2007), ‘Using normative social influence to promote conservation among hotel guests’, Social Influence.


28.
Nudge: The Behavioural Insights Team looked at reducing the problem of ‘did not attends’ (DNAs) for NHS appointments. Trials have suggested DNAs can be drastically reduced through a combination of behavioral approaches; for example prompting patients to verbally repeat their appointment time to staff and using normative messages indicating how many patients usually turned up on time for their appointments. Although these studies were reported in the BIT's 2010-11 annual update, they were carried out by Martin et al. 

Tags: B.I.T. / healthcare / commitment /  norms  

Source: Martin et al (2012), 'Commitments, norms and custard creams–a social influence approach to reducing did not attends', Journal of Royal Society of Medicine
Reported in Behavioural Insights Team 2010-11


29. 
Nudge:  An older, reasonably famous paper about the use of priming in a wine shop. By playing French or German music in the background, sales of French and German wine seemed to be significantly affected.  

Tags: priming / wine / music  

Source: North (1997), ‘Instore Music Affects Product Choice’, Nature.


  
30.
Nudge: This paper examined the issue of low awareness and take-up rates for government support programs, specifically for college financial aid. The authors used 2 treatment groups to test (1) the efficacy of simplifying the application forms for college financial aid for low & middle-income families applying and (2) the efficacy of having a tax professional provide guidance on completing the application form. The authors found that those who received assistance with their application were significantly more likely to submit the application, enroll in college and receive further financial aid. These benefits were not seen for those given the simplified form but not the professional assistance. This speaks to the importance of channel factors; in this case sitting down with a professional for an hour to complete the application.

Tags: simplification / education  

Source:  Bettinger et al. (2009), 'The Role of Simplification and Information in College Decisions: Results from the H&R Block FAFSA Experiment', NBER Working Paper.

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