Boosting patience for poverty reduction: a field experiment in Malawi.
Is it possible to develop patience in parents? If so, how does that translate into investments in children? I run a large randomized-control-trial with 2,413 mothers in Malawi to answer those questions. In collaboration with a Malawi NGO, I designed a set of trainings to increase the participants' future-orientation, through a mixture of visualization and goal-setting exercises.
Status: Intervention completed. Endline data collection coming soon.
Parent-bias (with Guilherme Lichand).
ABSTRACT: Lots of attention has been devoted to present-bias, particularly within Development Economics, as a leading explanation for why parents often fail to invest in children’s human capital. A different source of preference reversals has been, however, not investigated to date: parent-bias – when subjects discount their future consumption by more than that of their children. Such time preferences imply that parents’ generosity towards their children increases with the time horizon of the decision, leading to reversals away from planned children’s allocation every period.
This paper is the first to document this bias, through a lab-in-the-field experiment with 2,413 households in rural Malawi involving real consumption decisions. We find that a large share of subjects are parent-biased, and that this leads to large reallocation away from planned children's consumption towards parents’ consumption - of the same order of magnitude as preference reversals induced by present-bias in our sample over a 30-day horizon.
When offered commitment against within-household reallocation, parent-biased subjects demand it significantly more than other subjects, including involving children in future decision-making.
Status: Field work completed. Working Paper coming soon.
The impact of stereotype distortion on human capital decisions: the case of a large-scale affirmative action program in France.