Econometrica: Jan 2019, Volume 87, Issue 1

Social Networks, Reputation, and Commitment: Evidence from a Savings Monitors Experiment

https://doi.org/10.3982/ECTA13683
p. 175-216

Emily Breza, Arun G. Chandrasekhar

We conduct an experiment to study whether individuals save more when information about the progress toward their self‐set savings goal is shared with another village member (a “monitor”). We develop a reputational framework to explore how a monitor's effectiveness depends on her network position. Savers who care about whether others perceive them as responsible should save more with central monitors, who more widely disseminate information, and proximate monitors, who pass information to individuals with whom the saver interacts frequently. We randomly assign monitors to savers and find that monitors on average increase savings by 36%. Consistent with the framework, more central and proximate monitors lead to larger increases in savings. Moreover, information flows through the network, with 63% of monitors telling others about the saver's progress. Fifteen months after the conclusion of the experiment, other villagers have updated their beliefs about the saver's responsibility in response to the intervention.



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Supplement to "Social Networks, Reputation, and Commitment: Evidence from a Savings Monitors Experiment"

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