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(Ineffective) Messages to Encourage Recycling: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Peru

Author

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  • Alberto Chong
  • Dean Karlan
  • Jeremy Shapiro
  • Jonathan Zinman

Abstract

There is growing interest in using messaging to drive prosocial behaviors, which contribute to investment in public goods. We worked with a leading nongovernmental organization in Peru to randomize nine different prorecycling messages that were crafted on the basis of best practices, prior evidence, and theories of behavioral change. Different variants emphasized information on environmental or social benefits, social comparisons, social sanctions, authority, and reminders. None of the messages had significant effects on recycling behavior. However, reducing the cost of ongoing participation by providing a recycling bin significantly increased recycling among enrolled households.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Chong & Dean Karlan & Jeremy Shapiro & Jonathan Zinman, 2015. "(Ineffective) Messages to Encourage Recycling: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Peru," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 29(1), pages 180-206.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:29:y:2015:i:1:p:180-206.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/wber/lht022
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, 2004. "Social Comparisons and Pro-social Behavior: Testing "Conditional Cooperation" in a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1717-1722, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Chantal Toledo, 2016. "Do Environmental Messages Work on the Poor? Experimental Evidence from Brazilian Favelas," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 37-83.
    2. Jaime Torres, Mónica Marcela & Carlsson, Fredrik, 2016. "Social Norms and Information Diffusion in Water-saving Programs: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment in Colombia," Working Papers in Economics 652, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    3. Dammert, Ana C. & Galdo, Jose C. & Galdo, Virgilio, 2014. "Preventing dengue through mobile phones: Evidence from a field experiment in Peru," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 147-161.

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