Biased Beliefs and Search in Education Markets with Christopher A. Neilson and Claudia Allende

We examine the role of biased beliefs about the distribution of school characteristics and search costs in the school choice process. To disentangle these two mechanisms, we conduct a randomized control trial in the Dominican Republic in which we vary the nature of the information that is given to parents. In the first treatment arm, we attempt to change parents’ beliefs by providing information on the price and quality distribution of schools in their neighborhood. In the second treatment arm, we try to also reduce search costs by including information on the attributes of each individual school in addition to the distributions. The experimental results are used to inform a structural model of search and school choice.

The Intergenerational Impacts of Capital for Microentrepreneurs: Long-run Evidence from a Flexible Credit Contract Intervention in India with Arielle Bernhardt, Erica Field, Rohini Pande, and Natalia Rigol

This study analyzes the long-run impact of microfinance contracts with a grace period on borrowers’ income and their children’s outcomes. It is based on a field experiment conducted in 2007 that found that grace periods increase household income by 20% after three years. We analyze whether this has led to investments in children’s education and health outcomes. To do this, we tracked the quality and quantity of schooling throughout the lifetime of the children and also the children’s health outcomes, marriage outcomes, occupation, and wages in a 10-year follow-up survey.

The Role of Feedback and Motivation in Policy Adoption with Daniel Morales, Christopher A. Neilson, and Sebastian Otero

We study whether motivational messages and personalized feedback improve the performance of government officials. In our setting, school directors from all public schools in the Dominican Republic were told to execute a specific task. We randomly varied the ways in which the instructions were given to test whether motivation and personalized feedback on previous task performance can increase the task execution.

The Role of Evidence in Policy Adoption with Daniel Morales, Christopher A. Neilson, Sebastian Otero, and Gautam Rao

Does providing information on the evidence of the impact of a program increase its adoption by government officials? To test this, we exploit the nationwide scale-up of an education campaign in the Dominican Republic and randomly vary whether school officials receive information on the existing evidence of the impact of the program. A treatment arm with financial incentives acts as a benchmark. Further, we analyze whether technical assistance and additional reminders increase take-up.