Recent journal articles

Job Search and Hiring with Limited Information on Workseekers' Skills (with Eliana Carranza, Rob Garlick and Neil Rankin)American Economic Review.  112: 11. November 2022: 35473483. Ungated version.

We assess South African workseekers’ skills and disseminate the assessment results to explore how limited information affects firm and workseeker behavior. Giving workseekers assessment results that they can credibly share with firms increases workseekers’ employment and earnings and better aligns their skills, beliefs and search strategies. Giving workseekers assessment results that they cannot easily share with firms has similar effects on beliefs and search, but smaller effects on employment and earnings. Giving assessment results only to firms shifts interview decisions. These findings show that getting credible skill information to the right agents can improve outcomes in the labor market.

Can Simple Psychological Interventions Increase Preventive Health Investment? (with Anett John). Journal of the European Economic Association 20: 3. June 2022: 1001–1047. Ungated version.

Behavioral constraints may explain part of low demand for preventive health products. We test the effects of two light-touch psychological interventions on water chlorination and related health and economic outcomes using a randomized controlled trial among 3750 women in rural Kenya. One intervention encourages participants to visualize alternative realizations of the future; one builds participants’ ability to make concrete plans. After 12 weeks, visualization increases objectively measured chlorination, reduces diarrhea episodes among children, and increases savings. Effects on chlorination and savings persist after almost three years. Effects of the planning intervention are weaker and largely insignificant. Analysis of mechanisms suggests both interventions increase self-efficacy – beliefs about one’s ability to achieve desired outcomes. Visualization also increases participants’ skill in forecasting their future utility (Gabaix and Laibson 2017). The interventions do not differentially affect beliefs and knowledge about chlorination. Results suggest simple psychological interventions can increase future-oriented behaviors, including use of preventive health technologies.

Call Me Maybe: Experimental Evidence on Using Mobile Phones to Survey Microenterprises. (with Rob Garlick and Simon Quinn). World Bank Economic Review, 34(2): 418–443. Pre-analysis plan. Questionnaires. Funding from PEDL. Ungated version.

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Articles/Book Chapters: Psychology/Development Studies