Nava Ashraf

Ashraf, Nava, Oriana Bandiera, and Kelsey B Jack. “No Margin, No Mission? A Field Experiment on Incentives for Public Services Delivery”. (2014). Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

We conduct a field experiment to evaluate the effect of extrinsic rewards, both financial and non-financial, on the performance of agents recruited by a public health organization to promote HIV prevention and sell condoms. In this setting: (i) non-financial rewards are effective at improving performance; (ii) the effect of both rewards is stronger for pro-socially motivated agents; (iii) the effect of both rewards is stronger when their relative value is higher. The findings illustrate that extrinsic rewards can improve the performance of agents engaged in public service delivery, and that non-financial rewards can be effective in settings where the power of financial incentives is limited. 

Ashraf, Nava, Erica Field, and Jean Lee. “Household Bargaining and Excess Fertility: An Experimental Study in Zambia”. (2013). Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

We posit that household decision-making over fertility is characterized by moral hazard due to the fact that most contraception can only be perfectly observed by the woman. Using an experiment in Zambia that varied whether women were given access to contraceptives alone or with their husbands, we find that women given access with their husbands were 19% less likely to seek family planning services, 25% less likely to use concealable contraception, and 27% more likely to give birth. However, women given access to contraception alone report a lower subjective well-being, suggesting a psychosocial cost of making contraceptives more concealable.

Ashraf, Nava, Dean Karlan, and Wesley Yin. “Female Empowerment: Impact of a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines”. World Development 38.3 (2010): , 38, 3, 33–344. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Female “empowerment” has increasingly become a policy goal, both as an end to itself and as a means to achieving other development goals. Microfinance in particular has often been argued, but not without controversy, to be a tool for empowering women. Here, using a randomized controlled trial, we examine whether access to and marketing of an individually held commitment savings product lead to an increase in female decision-making power within the household. We find positive impacts, particularly for women who have below median decision-making power in the baseline, and we find this leads to a shift toward female-oriented durables goods purchased in the household.

Ashraf, Nava. “Spousal Control and Intra-Household Decision Making: An Experimental Study in the Philippines”. American Economic Review 99.4 (2009): , 99, 4, 1245-77. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

I elicit causal effects of spousal observability and communication on financial choices of married individuals in the Philippines. When choices are private, men put money into their personal accounts. When choices are observable, men commit money to consumption for their own benefit. When required to communicate, men put money into their wives' account. These strong treatment effects on men, but not women, appear related more to control than to gender: men whose wives control household savings respond more strongly to the treatment and women whose husbands control savings exhibit the same response. Changes in information and communication interact with underlying control to produce mutable gender-specific outcomes.