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Toward an Understanding of the Welfare Effects of Nudges: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Uganda

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  • Erwin Bulte
  • John List
  • Daan van Soest

Abstract

Social scientists have recently explored how framing of gains and losses affects productivity. We conducted a field experiment in peri-urban Uganda, and compared output levels across 1000 workers over isomorphic tasks and incentives, framed as either losses or gains. We find that loss aversion can be leveraged to increase the productivity of labor. The estimated welfare costs of using the loss contract are quite modest -- perhaps because the loss contract is viewed as a (soft) commitment device.

Suggested Citation

  • Erwin Bulte & John List & Daan van Soest, 2019. "Toward an Understanding of the Welfare Effects of Nudges: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Uganda," Natural Field Experiments 00674, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00674
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    Cited by:

    1. John List, 2020. "Experimental tests of the endowment effect and the Coase theorem," Natural Field Experiments 00687, The Field Experiments Website.
    2. John Sseruyange & Erwin Bulte, 2020. "Wage Differentials and Workers’ Effort: Experimental Evidence from Uganda," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 82(3), pages 647-668, June.
    3. Yan Chen & Peter Cramton & John A. List & Axel Ockenfels, 2020. "Market Design, Human Behavior, and Management," NBER Working Papers 26873, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General

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