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Measures to Influence Individual Behavior: Four Essays in Economics

  • This dissertation in economics studies the effects of changing individuals’ choice environments on their behavior. The choice environment is the setting within which an individual makes her decision. It is widely acknowledged that even inconspicuous changes to this environment can have strong effects on behavior. This notion has spurred large efforts in the public and private sector to design these environments and steer behavior. The dissertation studies four measures that change choice environments to achieve public and private objectives. The first chapter investigates the effects of community meetings on behavior changes that were desired by the central government in Rwanda. It studies these effects with and without performance incentives for local leaders and sheds light on who controls meetings and how they operate. The second chapter studies expected effects of Basic Income on time use, deploying a large-scale survey experiment. The results show intended reallocations that may contribute to foster social cohesion in society. In addition, the chapter suggests its methodology as a new approach to explore policies that are difficult or costly to test. Finally, the third and fourth chapter study the effects of social information and defaults in online donations. The third chapter shows that the empirical regularity of conditional cooperation fails. The fourth and last chapter explores the complex relationship between different numbers and values of donation amount defaults.

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Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Author(s):Maximilian Linek
Advisor:Christian Traxler, La Ferrara Eliana, Leonardo Iacovone
Referee:Christian Traxler
Hertie Collections (Serial Number):Dissertations submitted to the Hertie School (03/2021)
Publication year:2021
Publishing Institution:Hertie School
Granting Institution:Hertie School
Thesis date:2021/01/29
Number pages:118
Release Date:2021/02/10
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften
Licence of document (German):Creative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International
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