NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Erwin Bulte

Wageningen University
Department of Social Sciences
Hollandseweg 1
6706 Kn WAGENINGEN
Netherlands

E-Mail: erwin.bulte@wur.nl
Institutional Affiliation: Tilburg University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

September 2019Toward an Understanding of the Welfare Effects of Nudges: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Uganda
with John A. List, Daan Van Soest: w26286
Social scientists have recently explored how framing of gains and losses affects productivity. We conducted a field experiment in peri-urban Uganda, and compare 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.
 
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