Breathe Easy, There's an App for that: Using Information and Communication Technology to Avoid Air Pollution in Bogotá
47 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2022
Ambient air pollution is a leading cause of death in developing countries. In theory, using personal information and communication technologies to disseminate real-time information about pollution can boost avoidance behavior like wearing face masks. Yet evidence on such outcomes is limited. We conduct a RCT to evaluate the impact of training university students in Bogotá to use a newly available smartphone app that displays real-time air quality data. The training increased participants’ acquisition of information about air quality, their knowledge about avoidance behavior and most important, their actual avoidance behavior. It also enhanced their concern about other environmental issues. These effects were moderated by participants’ characteristics. Our results provide a proof-of-concept that smartphone app trainings can change users’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviors in ways that reduce their exposure to severe air pollution. The live trainings featured in our experiment could be scaled up at relatively low cost.
Keywords: air pollution, Colombia, Information, randomized controlled trial, Experiment, smartphone application
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