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Giving and promising gifts: Experimental evidence on reciprocity from the field

J. Michelle Brock, Andreas Lange () and Kenneth Leonard ()

Journal of Health Economics, 2018, vol. 58, issue C, 188-201

Abstract: We test the value of unconditional non-monetary gifts as a way to improve health worker performance in a low income country health setting. We randomly assigned health workers to different gift treatments within a program that visited health workers, measured performance and encouraged them to provide high quality care for their patients. We show that unconditional non-monetary gifts improve performance by 20 percent over a six-week period, compared to the control group. We compare the impact of the unconditional gift to one in which a gift is offered conditional on meeting a performance target and show that only the unconditional gift results in a statistically significant improvement. This demonstrates that organizations can improve the performance of health workers in the medium term without using financial incentives.

Keywords: C93; I1; J41; O1; Gift exchange; Reciprocity; Health care; Field experiment; Tanzania (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2018.02.007

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