WORK IN PROGRESS
Time preferences and medication adherence: A field experiment with pregnant women in South Africa with Kai Barron, Mette Trier Damgaard and Lisa Norrgren
The effectiveness of many health recommendations and treatment plans depends on the extent to which individuals follow them. For the individual, medication adherence involves an inter-temporal trade-off between expected future health benefits and immediate effort costs. Therefore examining time-preferences may help us to understand why some people fail to follow health recommendations and treatment plans. In this paper, we use a simple, unobtrusive real-effort task implemented via text message to elicit the time preferences of pregnant women in South Africa.
We find evidence that both our measured discount factor and time-inconsistency are predictive of self-reported adherence to the recommendation of taking iron supplements daily during pregnancy.
This suggests that patience plays a role in determining medication adherence patterns.
Arbitrage Or Narrow Bracketing?
On Using Money to Measure Discounting with James Andreoni, Mike Kuhn, Silvia Saccardo and Yang Yang
If experimental subjects arbitrage against market interest rates when making intertemporal allocations of cash, the data will reveal nothing about subjects' discounting, only uncovering subjects' market interest rates. If subjects instead frame choices narrowly, they will plan to spend cash rewards when received, implying cash has properties similar primary rewards. We test arbitrage directly by forcing all transactions with subjects to go exclusively through their financial institutions via instant electronic transfers. If subjects wish to arbitrage, this should make it as easy and salient as possible. Our evidence contradicts arbitrage, and finds evidence of present bias, supporting the view that money payments in experiments can be treated as a primary reward.
Do multi price offers in supermarkets increase household food waste? with Milica Mormann
This research demonstrates how retail promotions can lead to overbuying of food items, resulting in an increase in household food waste. The results from a large-scale field experiment with the data from 40,000 perishable vegetable purchases from eight supermarkets across Sweden show that consumers exposed to multiple-unit offers (e.g., "2 for X") purchased more compared to those exposed to a single unit discount (e.g., "1 for X/2"). A follow-up survey showed that these additional items are subsequently less likely to be consumed, leading to an increase in household food waste. The effect of multiple-unit offers on purchased quantity are reduced when the savings compared to buying one unit are made salient or when a nudge reminds consumers to consider their consumption. These results provide important insights into factors that increase food waste, and to the power of retailers to negatively, and also positively, impact important societal and environmental causes.
Annoyance costs of reminders with Janna Ter Mer
In this study we replicate the findings by Damgaard and Gravert (2018) that sending reminders comes at a cost. In a large-scale field experiment, we vary the cadence of reminders for participating in a research study to understand how people form beliefs about reminder frequency.
Nudge me! Response to and demand for healthy habit reminders with Kai Barron, Mette Trier Damgaard
An extensive literature documents that reminders can increase beneficial habits. However, little is know about the mechanisms of how reminders work and how different components influence the demand for reminders. We develop a theoretical model that elucidates the different potential mechanisms through which repeated reminders operate. The model yields a set of testable hypotheses. We run a nationwide field experiment on medication adherence with over 4000 pregnant women in South Africa. In line with our model, our results show that pure reminders which affect attention without conveying any information or moral message have a significant positive effect on stated adherence levels and increase demand for more reminders. Adding an emotional trigger to the reminders, which could affect the emotional utility of carrying out the behavior, also increases adherence and the demand for reminders. Contrary to our model, additional health information which is intended to increase beliefs about the importance of the behavior, significantly reduces adherence and demand, while having no differential effect on beliefs and knowledge.
Working Paper coming soon!
Peer Evaluation in Tournaments with Martin Dufwenberg and Katja Görlitz
We want to win, but we also care about our reputation. We conduct a psychological game-theoretic analysis of the tradeoff between increasing ones chances of winning a tournament and not being identified as a cheater by fellow contestants. We extend the model by Dufwenberg & Dufwenberg (2018) on perceived cheating aversion to a multi-player setting with subjective performance evaluations. We then test the model predictions
in a lab experiment.
She Could Not Agree More: The Role of Failure Attribution in Shaping the Gender Gap in Competition Persistence with Manar Alnamlah
In competitive and high-reward domains such as corporate leadership and entrepreneurship, women are not only underrepresented but they are also more likely to drop-out after failure. In this study, we conducted a laboratory experiment to investigate the influence of attributing failure to one of the three causal attributions - luck, effort, and ability - on the gender difference in competition persistence. Participants compete in a real effort task and then their success or failure is attributed to one of three causal attributions. We find significant gender differences in competition persistence when failure is attributed to a lack of ability, with women dropping out more. On the contrary, when suggested that failure was due to lack of luck, women’s competition persistence after failure increases relative to men. We find no gender difference when failure is attributed to a lack of effort. Our findings have important implications for designing feedback mechanisms to reduce the gender gap in competitive domains.
What determines switching behavior in the retail electricity market? with Ida Damsgaard
While technological innovation is crucial for increasing electricity system flexibility to allow for a higher share of renewable energy sources, these investments need to be complemented with changes in consumer behavior. However, there is mounting
evidence that electricity consumers are highly inactive. We use the rich and unique Danish administrative data combined with a state-of-the-art survey experiment with 100,000 Danes to test
whether consumers are making rational choices in a well-functioning market or whether the observed inaction is a result of behavioral barriers. In our survey experiment, we test the three major components of rational inattention theory as applied to electricity contract switching against each other (Hortaçsu et al. 2017) and against a novel theory of
irrationally postponing switching due to time-inconsistent preferences (Heidhues et al. 2021).
Gender differences in submission strategies? A survey of early-career economists with Katrine Thornfeld Sørensen
We investigate whether the gender gap in economic publications can be explained by different submission strategies of male and female economists. We conduct an online survey among early-career economics faculty of top 50 institutions focusing on the submission trajectories of job market papers as well as personal and institutional characteristics. Our results suggest that there are no significant differences in submission strategies for this early-career sample.