Is Habit a Powerful Policy Instrument to Induce Prosocial Behavioral Change?
Ahmed Mobarak () and
Judith Chevalier ()
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Johann Caro-Burnett: Hiroshima University
No 2275, Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers from Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University
Recent literature suggests the power of interventions to change habits. In a dense slum in Nairobi, we adopt best practices from the habit literature to encourage toilet use instead of alternatives that damage community health. Offering subsidies increased toilet usage, effects continue for one month after discounts end, but erode thereafter. Treatments designed to induce habit formation (marketing, time-limited discounts encouraging repetition, discounts for longer periods, targeting `habitual typesâ€™) generated no greater persistence. We see some persistent behavior change due to learning about the new toilet option. It appears difficult to induce pro-social behavior without private benefits through habit change.
Keywords: Behavioral Economics; Habit Formation; Kenya; Sanitation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D91 O12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 36 pages
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