Behavioral Economics, Development Economics, Experimental Methods
I lie? We lie! Why? Experimental evidence on a dishonesty shift in groups, with Martin Kocher & Simeon Schudy, Management Science (2018), 64 (9): 3995-4008. Download paper
Communication in groups makes misreporting in the lab more acceptable.
Cash in hand and saving decisions, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization (2021), 188: 1206-1220. Download paper SABE/IAREP/Elsevier Best PhD Student Paper 2018
The tangibility of cash does not influence savings deposits of Filipino microfinance clients.
Microfinance loan officers before and during Covid-19: Evidence from India, with Kristina Czura, Florian Englmaier & Hoa Ho. World Development (2022), 152: 105812. Download paper
Loan officers juggle many different tasks and it becomes more difficult during the first year of the pandemic.
The gender gap in mental well-being at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic: Evidence from the UK, with Ben Etheridge, European Economic Review, (2022), 145: 104114. Download paper
Mental well-being of women declined more than men’s in April 2020, which appears mostly related to social factors.
Flexible repayment schedules allow borrowers to invest in profitable yet risky projects, but practitioners fear they erode repayment morale. We study repayment choices in rigid and flexible loan contracts that allow discretion in repayment timing. To separate strategic repayment choices from repayment capacity given income shocks, we conduct a lab-in-the-field experiment with microcredit borrowers in the Philippines. Our design allows us to observe social pressure, which is considered both central to group lending, and excessive in practice. In our rigid benchmark contract, repayment is much higher than predicted under simple payoff maximization. Flexibility reduces high social pressure, but comes at the cost of reduced loan repayment. We present theoretical and empirical evidence consistent with a strong social norm for repayment, which is weakened by the introduction of flexibility. Our results imply that cooperative behavior determined by social norms may erode if the applicability of these norms is not straightforward.
Cooperation and the Signaling Value of Incentives: An Experiment in a Company, with Marvin Deversi. New version in preparation.
Economists and management scholars have argued that the scope of incentives to increase cooperation in organizations is limited as their use signals the prevalence of free-riding among employees. This paper tests this hypothesis experimentally, using a sample of managers and employees (N=449) from a large company. We exogenously vary whether managers are informed about prevailing cooperation levels among employees before they can set incentives to promote cooperation. Comparing informed versus uninformed incentive choices, the data reveals strong positive effects of incentives that are unaffected by the hypothesized signaling effect. The absence of such effect seems related to the perception of managers’ intentions, a mitigating factor that has not been explored in the literature so far.
Selected Work in Progress
We theoretically and experimentally study how the introduction of a credit registry affects investment and repayment decisions of borrowers. Information sharing between lenders can affect repayment rates via two mechanisms, i) better screening by lenders and ii) an additional incentive for borrowers to repay. In contrast to most previous studies, we can exclude selection effect and potential changes in the borrower pool and cleanly identify the incentive effect of information sharing on borrowers. We conduct an information campaign with 6,000 microfinance clients to exogenously vary the knowledge of the credit registry and possible consequences for borrowers. Our design allows identifying both the effects on ex-ante moral hazard (project and effort choice) and ex-post moral hazard (repayment performance).
Scam identification ability, confidence, and the use of digital financial services, with Jana Cahlíková, Lucy Kaaria, Elif Kubilay & Eva Raiber IPA Consumer Protection Research Inititative Pilot Grant. Pilot Summary