The lack of adoption of new farming technologies despite known benefits is a well-documented phenomenon in development economics. In addition to a number of market constraints, risk aversion predominates the discussion of behavioral determinants of technology adoption. We hypothesize that ambiguity aversion may also be a determinant, since farmers may have less information about the distribution of yield outcomes from new technologies compared with traditional technologies. We test this hypothesis with a laboratory experiment in the field in which we measure risk and ambiguity preferences.
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In the context of consumer lending in South Africa, advertising content has significant effects on demand, even relative to price effects. However, it was very difficult to predict the effects of different advertising content, and highlights the psychological premise that context matters.
A laboratory experiment with undergraduate students in a US university explores the effects of intergroup competition and changes in group membership on creativity and collaboration.
In the context of a fruit producer in the UK, social connections increase productivity of connected workers, but their effect on the allocation of managerial effort hinders firm productivity under fixed wages. Thus managerial behaviour is shaped by both social connections with subordinates and monetary incentives. In this setting, it is in the firm's best interest to foster social ties between management and workers, but to introduce monetary incentives to achieve an efficient interplay between social relationships and incentives.
In the context of farming in Malawi, reducing risk did not induce an increase in demand for credit, contrary to theoretical predictions. These results highlight the difficulties in mitigating environmental risks to poor farmers and to increase investments in better technologies.
In the context of microfinance in Sri Lanka, high variance in returns may limit the willingness of banks to lend to microenterprises, but it remains a puzzle why incremental growth and reinvestment remains such a challenges as many firms have exhibited a high level of returns.
This experiment, replicating the selection environment of competitive jobs, suggests that the gender gap could be due in part to men's overconfidence, and men's preferences for performing in competition. Further implications include that a surplus of low-performing men may too often self-select into these jobs while too many high-performing women do not.
In the context of a fruit producer in the UK, the introduction of managerial incentives provides evidence of positive effects on worker productivity. In this context, when managers' pay is linked to the firm's performance, their interests become more aligned with those of the firm, which ultimately translates into stronger alignment of incentives of the workers they manage since the managers can target their efforts to specific workers. This also sheds some light on how managerial incentives determine earnings inequality among workers.
An innovation voucher scheme in the Netherlands appears to successfully encourage SMEs to work with public research institutes on innovative projects.
In the context of a call centre, behavioural heterogeneity observed through employees shirking when reduced monitoring is introduced has important implications for the design and management of reward systems. Management needs to balance monitoring strategies needed to regulate opportunistic employees with strategies needed to sustain the motivation of the substantial fraction of employees disinclined to shirk.
In the context of a major consumer credit company in a department where employees conduct measurable and relatively low-complexity tasks, there were significant differences between the effects on performance of routine pay for performance and the O.B. Mod.-administered money. This points to the importance of theory-based, systematic application procedures. Supervisors can quickly be trained in the steps of behavioural management, and can effectively implement them quickly to obtain positive performance results.
In the context of a lab experiment intended to mimick market entry decisions, overconfidence leads to the neglect of the quality of competition. When post-entry payoffs are based on individual abilities, individuals tend to overestimate their chances of relative success and enter more frequently. Surprisingly, overconfidence is even stronger when individuals' self-select into the experimental sessions knowing their success will depend partly on their skill.