CAREER: Using Information and Incentives to Promote Human Capital
This CAREER project studies how to use information and incentives to increase investment in health and education among disadvantaged populations. It develops a method based on the idea that better information and appropriate rewards will result in better decisions about health and education investments. This model is then used to study the effectiveness of policies to induce diabetic patients to exercise, policies to reduce opioid addiction, and to study choices parents make regarding whether to invest more in their gifted child's education or invest equally in all their children's education when resources are tight. The results of this research will be applicable to several important policy questions, including reducing the diabetes epidemic; addressing the opioid epidemic in the US; and improving educational investments in the US and around the world. The methods developed in this project will be used by other researchers to study other policy issues. The results could contribute to the wellbeing of US citizens, especially among the poor and people around the world.
This CAREER research uses four projects to develop new insights about incentive design and tests them in the context of healthy behaviors and investment in education. The first project conducts a follow-up RCT on an earlier project to test whether personalizing incentive contracts improves efficacy. The second project conducts an RCT to evaluate two incentive schemes: incentivizing "inputs" and incentivizing "outcome" of abstinence. The third conducts a field experiment to identify parental preferences by exogenously vary returns to investing in their children's education, allowing PI to quantify the weights parents place on maximizing the returns to investment (total household earnings), equalizing their children's outcomes (individual earnings), and equalizing the inputs given to each child. Project 4 uses an RCT design to test whether knowledge that children will be ineligible to receive SSI when they turn 18 will induce them to invest more in education. The results of this research project will significantly contribute to economists' knowledge of how best to design incentive schemes.
This project is supported by the National Science Foundation under grant number 1847087.
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- Author: Shane Greenstein