Foretelling What Makes People Pay: Predicting the Results of Field Experiments on TV Fee Enforcement
18 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2019 Last revised: 11 Nov 2021
Date Written: September 19, 2019
A common challenge in field experimentation is designing effective treatment interventions. Therefore, any advance information about the expected effectiveness of planned treatments is highly valuable to identify the most promising interventions and inform power calculations. We run a laboratory experiment in which non-experts forecast results of two large field experiments focused on TV license fee collection to evaluate whether it is possible to predict their results. In our setting, forecasters identified the most effective treatments targeted at deterrence motive but struggled to forecast “soft” behavioral treatments compared to baseline. However, they were mostly correct when forecasting their same effectiveness in comparison with each other. Our results suggest that despite the artificiality of the laboratory environment, forecasts generated there may, to some extent, provide valuable estimates of treatment effectiveness. Importantly, surprising differences between predictions and field results might help identifying candidates for replication studies.
Keywords: lab experiments, forecasting experimental results,field experiments, behavioral economics
JEL Classification: C91, C92, C93, D03
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation