No. 19 Brownbag: Nudging People to Save Social Resources by Providing Salient Cost Information: A Field Experiment
Published:2018-11-12 Visits:


Topic: Nudging People to Save Social Resources by Providing Salient Cost Information: A Field Experiment

Speaker:  Yan Jubo, Assistant Professor of Economics in the School of Social Sciences at Nanyang Technological University

Host: Yexin ZhouAssociate Professor of the School of Economics and Resource Management, BNU

Time:  12:00-13:30pm, November 19th, 2018

Venue:  Rm 1710, Hou-Zhu-Lou, Beijing Normal University


Introduction of speaker

Dr. Yan Jubo is an assistant professor of economics in the School of Social Sciences at Nanyang Technological University. He received his PhD in Applied Economics and Management from Cornell University in 2015 after he obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Beijing Normal University. Dr. Yan’s research focus on individual decision making including: 1) how risk attitude/preference shapes decision; 2) behavioral response to policy changes; 3) the effects of contextual factors on decision making. He uses both first-hand data (collected with laboratory and field experiments) and second-hand data in his studies. His recent works examine pollution issues and tax evasions in China by focusing on how individuals behave when facing such issues. Dr Yan has published in Resource and Energy Economics, Environmental and Resource Economics, Agricultural Economics, Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, and Journal of Organizational Behavior among others.



Social preference has been widely observed and is taken as the foundation of many policies targeting at voluntary behaviors such as donation. We report a field experiment in which we promote prosocial behavior by making the information about the cost of social resources more salient to the agents. The experiment is conducted at a major research university with all faculty and administrative staffs from two schools as participants. The university features an online system through which all employees order stationeries and other office supplies. The ordered items are used for work-related purposes, so they do not incur any cost to the employees but rather the cost is borne by the university. We randomize half of our subjects into a treatment group in which they were provided with the cost information of each item when ordering, while subjects in the control group do not receive such information. The experimental results show that displaying the costs reduces the quantities of ordered items. The effect is both statistically (p = 0.011) and economically significant (10.77% reduction). Moreover, we find that this effect only pertains to the extensive margin (i.e. quantity of varieties) but not the intensive margin (i.e. quantity for a given item). We also find that the treatment generates some efficiency gains for the university in terms of the reduction of cost of the orders.


How to sign up?

The CIID Lunch Seminar provides lunch for all signed up participants. Regulations are as follows:

1.  To sign up, scan the QR code below and follow the CIID official account. Leave a message as “No.20 LS-(Name)-(Department)” in our public platform. You will receive a Chinese reply “报名成功”if you are successfully signed up.


2. If you’ve already signed up but could NOT attend, please leave a massage as “Cancel-(Name)-(Department)” to avoid food waste.

3.  The deadline for sign-up and cancelation is 3 hours before the seminar (9:00 a.m.).

4.  Lunch will start 15 minutes before the seminar and will be provided according to the sign-up list.


China Institute of Innovation and Development, BNU


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