Research Papers & Work in Progress

Dictating Development? Achieving Targets through Performance Contracts and Community Work
June 2019

How do countries achieve their development targets? This paper presents causal evidence from Rwanda on the complementarity of top-down Performance Contracts and local Community Work to implement behavioral change. I exploit rainfall on the day of Community Work as exogeneous variation in attendance rates over time and estimate the reduced-form effect on the timing of behavioral change in individual women and households. The results show that, only with Performance Contracts, Community Work is an effective instrument for the central government to implement development targets in modern contraceptive prevalence and malaria prevention. The analysis illustrates an institutional system. Pressure is the suggested mechanism, which was arguably used for behavioral change.

Time Use in Hypothetical Basic Income Scenarios
Linek, Maximilian. 2018. “Time Use in Hypothetical Basic Income Scenarios”. AEA RCT Registry. October 22. [Trial Registry]

What would you do if you received basic income? This paper analyzes a survey experiment among 70,541 registered users of a NGO which promotes basic income in Germany. Treated individuals received a hypothetical basic income scenario varying the amount, duration and the number of recipients. Following the scenario, individuals were asked how they plan to adjust their time use across 7 activity categories. I find strong responses to the amount of basic income, but no differential adjustments with respect to duration or the number of recipients. Planned Ajustments are decreasing in the amount of basic income. On average, respondents reduce their working time by 1.5 hours a week for every 500 Euros of additional basic income. Time use increases in all other categories. Contrasted with a pure control group, respondents only adjust time use for basic income amounts larger than 500 Euros. Overall, the evidence suggests that basic income has only moderate effects on time use in general and on working time in particular.

Social Information and Online Donations: Experimental Evidence from Wikimedia (with Christian Traxler)
Linek, Maximilian and Christian Traxler. 2018. “No Conditional Cooperation? Trials in a large online Fundraising Campaign.” AEA RCT Registry. November 13. [Trial Registry]

This paper analyzes six trials conducted on the German website of the world’s largest online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. During fundraising campaigns, Wikipedia users were randomly assigned to different banner messages that solicit donations. The trials systematically manipulated content or framing of social information about how many other users are donating. The results provide no evidence on conditional cooperation: varying social information does not induce conditionally pro-social conduct. In fact, a trial that framed an identical number of donors as small (“few” in contrast to “many”) significantly increased users’ propensity to donate. We discuss several possible explanations of these findings.