NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Margaret McConnell

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Working Papers and Chapters and Reporter Articles

May 2014To Charge or Not to Charge: Evidence from a Health Products Experiment in Uganda
with Greg Fischer, Dean Karlan, Pia Raffler: w20170
In a field experiment in Uganda, a free distribution of three health products lowers subsequent demand relative to a sale distribution. This contrasts with work on insecticide-treated bed nets, highlighting the importance of product characteristics in determining pricing policy. We put forward a model to illustrate the potential tension between two of these important factors, learning and anchoring, and then test this model with three products selected specifically for their variation in the scope for learning. We find the rank order of percentage change of shifts in demand matches theoretical predictions, although the differences are not statistically significant, and only two of three pairwise comparisons match when the reductions are specified in percent terms. These results highlight t...
January 2012Hey Look at Me: The Effect of Giving Circles on Giving
with Dean Karlan: w17737
Theories abound for why individuals give to charity. We conduct a field experiment with donors to a Yale University service club to test the impact of a promise of public recognition on giving. Some may claim that they respond to an offer of public recognition not to improve their social standing, but rather to motivate others to give. To tease apart these two theories, we conduct a laboratory experiment with undergraduates, and find no evidence to support the alternative, altruistic motivation. We conclude that charitable gifts increase in response to the promise of public recognition primarily because of individuals' desire to improve their social image.
July 2010Getting to the Top of Mind: How Reminders Increase Saving
with Dean Karlan, Sendhil Mullainathan, Jonathan Zinman: w16205
We develop and test a simple model of limited attention in intertemporal choice. The model posits that individuals fully attend to consumption in all periods but fail to attend to some future lumpy expenditure opportunities. This asymmetry generates some predictions that overlap with models of present-bias. Our model also generates the unique predictions that reminders may increase saving, and that reminders will be more effective when they increase the salience of a specific expenditure. We find support for these predictions in three field experiments that randomly assign reminders to new savings account holders.

forthcoming in Management Science

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers only

 
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