Monday, June 10, 2013

Nudge Database VI

This is part 6 of the Nudge Database. These nudges have been compiled with the help of Carlo Canepa. My thanks to him.

Part I || Part II || Part III || Part IV || Part V || Part VI || Part VIII || Part IX ||  Part X || @Makeuya 

Nudge: In contrast to McDonald’s old policy of asking whether you want to super-size your order, these three field experiments asked customers in a chinese restaurant if they wanted to down-size their portions of side dishes. The 14- 33% of customers who did so did not compensate by ordering more in other areas and ate 200 less calories on average

Tags: obesity / portion-size

Source: Schwartz et al. (2012), 'Inviting Consumers To Downsize Fast-Food Portions Significantly Reduces Calorie Consumption', Health Affairs.

Nudge: The authors use 45 million observations from Denmark to see whether retirement savings policies – such as  tax subsidies or employer-provided pension plans – increase total saving for retirement or simply induce shifting across accounts. They find that automatic contributions are more effective at increasing savings rates than price subsidies for three reasons: 
(1) subsidies induce relatively few individuals to respond,  
(2) they generate substantial crowd-out conditional on response
(3) they do not influence the savings behavior of passive individuals, who are least prepared for retirement. 

Tags: savings / defaults

Source: Chetty et al. (2012), 'Active vs. Passive Decisions and Crowdout in Retirement Savings Accounts: Evidence from Denmark', NBER Working Paper

Nudge: The authors hypothesize that people use the kind of electricity that is offered to them (i.e. the default). They use 2 natural studies and 2 experiments to support this, finding that making ‘green utility’ the default increased take-up of it. Grey utility refers to a non-energy efficient supplier. 

Tags: energy use / defaults 

Source: Pichert & Katsikopoulos (2008), "Green Defaults: Information Presentation and Pro-Environmental Behaviour", Journal of Environmental Psychology

Nudge: The authors analyze data from two large-scale, random-assignment field experiments conducted by utility companies providing electricity and natural gas in partnership with Opower, which provides monthly or quarterly mailed peer feedback reports to customers. They find reductions in energy consumption of 1.2% to 2.1%, with the decrease sustained over time. 

Tags: energy / norms / peer feedback 

Source: Ayres et al. (2012), Evidence from Two Large Field Experiments that Peer Comparison Feedback Can Reduce Residential Energy Usage”, Journal of Law and Economic Organization

Nudge: The authors conducted a field experiment (N = 287,228) to test efficacy of eliciting implementation intentions when calling potential voters before the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. They found that helping voters create a specific voting plan (what time they would vote, where they would be coming from, and what they would be doing beforehand) can increase turnout by 4.1% among those contacted, but a standard encouragement call and self-prediction of voting behaviour have no effect on eventual turnout. Among single-eligible-voter households, the formation of a voting plan increased turnout among persons contacted by 9.1 percentage points, whereas those in multiple-eligible voter households were unaffected by all scripts. An important paper in terms of rigorous analysis of voter turnout.

Tags: voting /commitment 

Source: Nickerson & Rogers(2010), “Do You Have a Voting Plan?”, Psychological Science

Nudge: The authors test the power of loss aversion to improve teacher performance. During the 2010-11 Chicago school year teachers were randomly asked to participate in a pay-for-performance program with “gain” and “loss” treatments. The “gain” group received traditional financial incentives at the end of the year in the form of bonuses linked to student achievement. Those teachers in the “loss” group were paid a lump-sum in advance and asked to give back the money if their students did not meet performance targets. Teachers in both conditions received the same monetary bonus if they reached the same performance targets.

This approach resulted in increases in math test scores for the loss condition by an equivalent of increasing teacher quality by more than one standard deviation. The gain treatment yields smaller and statistically insignificant results. The authors attribute the significant difference between the loss and gain condition to the loss aversion framing.

Tags: loss aversion / teacher performance    

Source: Fryer et al. (2012), "Enhancing the Efficacy of Teacher Incentives through Loss Aversion: A Field Experiment", NBER Working Paper

Nudge: The authors use framing manipulations to increase factory worker productivity in a field experiment. They find conditional incentives framed as both “losses” and “gains” increase productivity for both individuals and teams.In addition, teams more acutely respond to bonuses posed as losses than as comparable bonuses posed as gains. The magnitude of the effect is roughly 1%: that is, total team productivity is enhanced by 1% purely due to the framing manipulation. 

Tags: loss aversion / work performance 

Source: Hossain & List (2009), “The Behavioralist Visits the Factory: Increasing Productivity Using Simple FramingManipulations”, NBER Working Paper

58. Nudge: A field experiment prompted people to form implementation intentions about influenza vaccination. Those who received the prompt to write down just a date had a vaccination rate 1.5 percentage points higher than the control group, which was statistically insignificant. Those who received the more specific prompt to write down both a date and a time had a 4.2 percentage point higher vaccination rate, a difference that is both statistically significant and of meaningful magnitude.

Tags: commitment  

Source: Milkman et al. (2011), "Using implementation intentions prompts to enhance influenza vaccination rates", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 

59. Nudge: A field experiment in Uganda tested various incentives on loan repayments; (1) a cash reward upon completing payments(equivalent to a 25% interest rate reduction on the loan), (2) a 25% interest rate reduction on the next loan taken from the bank and (3) a monthly text message reminder before the loan payment is due. Results suggest that the text messages have similar effects (especially for younger customers) as the 25% rate reduction. 

Tags: salience / loans 

Source: Cadena & Schoar (2011), Remembering to Pay? Reminders vs.Financial Incentives for Loan Payments”, NBER Working Paper  

Nudge: The authors study the effect of incorporating heterogeneity into default rules by examining the choice between retirement plans at a firm which transitioned from a defined benefit (DB) to a defined contribution (DC) plan. The default plan for existing employees varied discontinuously depending on their age. Employing regression discontinuity techniques, they find that the default increased the probability of enrollment in the default plan by 60 percentage points. 

Tags: defaults / savings 

Source: Goda, Manchester (2010), "Incorporating employee heterogeneity into default rules for retirement plan selection", NBER Working Paper

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