Sunday, July 18, 2021

Experiments touching on market design in the July AER

 The July AER has a number of experiments that speak to market design:


How to Avoid Black Markets for Appointments with Online Booking Systems  By Rustamdjan Hakimov, C.-Philipp Heller, Dorothea K├╝bler, and Morimitsu Kurino*

Abstract: Allocating appointment slots is presented as a new application for market design. Online booking systems are commonly used by public authorities to allocate appointments for visa interviews, driver’s licenses, passport renewals, etc. We document that black markets for appointments have developed in many parts of the world. Scalpers book the appointments that are offered for free and sell the slots to appointment seekers. We model the existing first-come-first-served booking system and propose an alternative batch system. The batch system collects applications for slots over a certain time period and then randomly allocates slots to applicants. The theory predicts and lab experiments confirm that scalpers profitably book and sell slots under the current system with sufficiently high demand, but that they are not active in the proposed batch system. We discuss practical issues for the implementation of the batch system and its applicability to other markets with scalping.


In rural Malawi,

Pay Me Later: Savings Constraints and the Demand for Deferred Payments  By Lasse Brune, Eric Chyn, and Jason Kerwin*

Abrstract: We study a simple savings scheme that allows workers to defer receipt of part of their wages for three months at zero interest. The scheme significantly increases savings during the deferral period, leading to higher postdisbursement spending on lumpy goods. Two years later, after two additional rounds of the savings scheme, we find that treated workers have made permanent improvements to their homes. The popularity of the scheme implies a lack of good alternative savings options. The results of a follow-up experiment suggest that demand for the scheme is partly due to its ability to address self-control issues.


In Rwanda,

Recruitment, Effort, and Retention Effects of Performance Contracts for Civil Servants: Experimental Evidence from Rwandan Primary Schools  by Clare Leaver, Owen Ozier, Pieter Serneels and Andrew Zeitlin

Abstract: This paper reports on a two-tiered experiment designed to separately identify the selection and effort margins of pay for performance (P4P). At the recruitment stage, teacher labor markets were randomly assigned to a "pay-for-percentile" or fixed-wage contract. Once recruits were placed, an unexpected, incentive-compatible, school-level re-randomization was performed so that some teachers who applied for a fixed-wage contract ended up being paid by P4P, and vice versa. By the second year of the study, the within-year effort effect of P4P was 0.16 standard deviations of pupil learning, with the total effect rising to 0.20 standard deviations after allowing for selection. 


and in India,

On Her Own Account: How Strengthening Women's Financial Control Impacts Labor Supply and Gender Norms  By Erica Field, Rohini Pande, Natalia Rigol, Simone Schaner and Charity Troyer Moore

Abstract: Can increasing control over earnings incentivize a woman to work, and thereby influence norms around gender roles? We randomly varied whether rural Indian women received bank accounts, training in account use, and direct deposit of public sector wages into their own (versus husbands') accounts. Relative to the accounts only group, women who also received direct deposit and training worked more in public and private sector jobs. The private sector result suggests gender norms initially constrained female employment. Three years later, direct deposit and training broadly liberalized women's own work-related norms, and shifted perceptions of community norms. 

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