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Motivating the Adoption of New Community-Minded Behaviors: An Empirical Test in Nigeria

56 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2017  

Graeme Blair

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Political Science

Rebecca Littman

Yale University - Department of Psychology

Elizabeth Levy Paluck

Princeton University Department of Psychology

Date Written: September 6, 2017

Abstract

Social scientists have long sought to explain why people donate resources for the good of a community. Existing explanations do not fully account for why people adopt novel community-minded behaviors, which may carry special costs and risks. In a field experiment in Nigeria, we tested two campaigns that encouraged people to try reporting corruption by text message. Psychological theories about how to shift perceived norms and how to channel behavioral momentum drove the design of each campaign. The first, a film featuring actors reporting corruption and the second, a mass text message reducing the effort required to report, caused a total of 1,181 people in 106 communities to text, including 241 people who sent concrete corruption reports. Psychological theories of social norms and behavior change can illuminate the early stages of the evolution of cooperation and collective action.

Keywords: Social Norms, Nudge, Collective Action, Psychology, Field Experiment

Suggested Citation

Blair, Graeme and Littman, Rebecca and Paluck, Elizabeth Levy, Motivating the Adoption of New Community-Minded Behaviors: An Empirical Test in Nigeria (September 6, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3033133

Graeme Blair (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Political Science ( email )

405 Hilgard Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1472
United States

Rebecca Littman

Yale University - Department of Psychology ( email )

P.O. Box 208205
New Haven, CT 06520-8205
United States

Elizabeth Levy Paluck

Princeton University Department of Psychology ( email )

Green Hall
Princeton, NJ 08540
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.betsylevypaluck.com/

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