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Emma Riley + Lukas Hensel (External Seminar)
Talk 1: Emma Riley, “Resisting sharing pressure in the household using mobile money: Experimental evidence on microenterprise investment in Uganda“
Abstract: I examine whether changing the way microfinance loans are disbursed to utilise widespread mobile money services impacts the businesses of female microfinance borrowers. Using a field experiment of 3,000 borrowers of BRAC Uganda, I compare disbursement of a loan as cash to disbursement of a loan onto a mobile money account. After 8 months, women who received their microfinance loan on the mobile money account had 15% higher business profits and 11% higher levels of business capital. Impacts were greatest for women who experienced pressure to share money with others in the household at baseline, suggesting that providing the loan in a private account gives women more control over how the loan is used.
Talk 2: Lukas Hensel, “Political activists as free-riders: Evidence from a natural field experiment“
Abstract: How does a citizen’s decision to participate in political activism depend on the participation of others? We examine this core question of collective action in a natural field experiment in collaboration with a major European party during a recent national election. In a seemingly unrelated party survey, we randomly assign canvassers to true information about the canvassing intentions of their peers. Using survey evidence and behavioural data from the party’s smartphone canvassing application, we find that treated canvassers significantly reduce both their canvassing intentions and behaviour when learning that their peers participate more in canvassing than previously believed. These treatment effects are particularly large for supporters who have weaker social ties to the party, and for supporters with higher career concerns within the party. The evidence implies that effort choices of political activists are, on average, strategic substitutes. However, social ties to other activists can act as a force for strategic complementarity.