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Information Provision over the Phone Saves Lives: An RCT to Contain COVID-19 in Rural Bangladesh at the Pandemic’s Onset


  • Shyamal Chowdhury

    (University of Sydney; IZA, Bonn)

  • Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch

    (IZA, Bonn; University of Düsseldorf; Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn)

  • Sebastian O. Schneider

    (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn)

  • Matthias Sutter

    (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn; University of Cologne and University of Innsbruck)


Lack of information about COVID-19 and its spread may have contributed to excess mortality at the pandemic’s onset. In April and May 2020, we implemented a randomized controlled trial with more than 3,000 households in 150 Bangladeshi villages. Our one-to-one information campaign via phone stressed the importance of social distancing and hygiene measures, and illustrated the consequences of an exponential spread of COVID-19. We find that information provision improves knowledge about COVID-19 and induces significant behavioral changes. Information provision also yields considerably better health outcomes, most importantly by reducing the number of reported deaths by about 50% in treated villages.

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  • Shyamal Chowdhury & Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch & Sebastian O. Schneider & Matthias Sutter, 2022. "Information Provision over the Phone Saves Lives: An RCT to Contain COVID-19 in Rural Bangladesh at the Pandemic’s Onset," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 211, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:ajk:ajkdps:211

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    More about this item


    Field experiment; COVID-19; Information intervention; Death rates;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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