So what makes people do socially oriented tasks better? An interesting new paper by Nava Ashraf, Oriana Bandiera, and Kelsey Jack shows that money doesn’t matter and recognition makes a big difference.
Since I reviewed, back in April, the paper by Ashraf, Field, and Lee on the effect of providing vouchers for injectable contraceptives to women in reducing unwanted pregnancies in Lusaka, Zambia, I had been worrying about the use of these modern, convenient, and reliable technologies in those parts of the world in which HIV is highly prevalent.
Update: Lant Pritchett has kindly responded to my invitation and posted his thoughts: "No need for unmet need." Check out the comments section.
A quick look at the burgeoning literature on policy evaluations will reveal a preponderance of evaluations of demand side schemes such as conditional cash transfers. There is an obvious reason for this beyond the promise that such interventions hold: the technology of treatment allows for large sample randomized evaluations, either at the household or community/village level. As long as financing is sufficient to sample an adequate number of study units, study power will not be a concern.