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

Listed author(s):
  • Alberto Chong
  • Dean Karlan
  • Jeremy Shapiro
  • Jonathan Zinman

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.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/wber/lht022
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Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 29 (2015)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 180-206

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:29:y:2015:i:1:p:180-206.
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  1. Marianne Bertrand & Dean Karlin & Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir & Jonathan Zinman, 2005. "What's Psychology Worth? A Field Experiment in the Consumer Credit Market," NBER Working Papers 11892, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alpizar, Francisco & Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2008. "Anonymity, reciprocity, and conformity: Evidence from voluntary contributions to a national park in Costa Rica," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1047-1060, June.
  3. Victor Stango & Jonathan Zinman, 2011. "Limited and varying consumer attention: evidence from shocks to the salience of bank overdraft fees," Working Papers 11-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  4. Noah J. Goldstein & Robert B. Cialdini & Vladas Griskevicius, 2008. "A Room with a Viewpoint: Using Social Norms to Motivate Environmental Conservation in Hotels," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(3), pages 472-482, 03.
  5. 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.
  6. Marianne Bertrand & Dean Karlan & Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir & Jonathan Zinman, 2010. "What's Advertising Content Worth? Evidence from a Consumer Credit Marketing Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 263-306.
  7. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
  8. James J. Choi & Emily Haisley & Jennifer Kurkoski & Cade Massey, 2012. "Small Cues Change Savings Choices," NBER Working Papers 17843, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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