Experimental Economics Seminar for September 22

Events, Seminars | September 16, 2016

Join us for the next ICES Experimental Economics Seminar of the semester, featuring Danila Serra.

Prof. Serra, of Southern Methodist University, will discuss her paper (co-authored with Isaac Mbiti) Can Patients’ Reports Improve Health Providers’ Performance? Experimental Evidence from Kenya (Abstract). The talk will take place on Thursday, September 22nd, from 12:00 to 1:00pm, in room 5075 of the Metropolitan Building, Arlington campus.

Visit the Seminar schedule to access the paper and to learn more about upcoming speakers.


We assess the effectiveness of accountability systems relying on patient reporting in the Kenyan health sector. We evaluate patients’ willingness to file complaints on service providers, and providers’ responsiveness to the possibility of receiving such complaints. We contrast reporting systems where complaints have no direct consequences on providers, such as standard complaint boxes, and reporting systems where complaints lead to either monetary penalties or non-monetary consequences, in the form of peer shaming. We employ a specially designed laboratory-in-the-field experiment involving randomly selected providers and patients from public and private health centers in Nairobi. We find that: 1) disclosing patients’ complaints to providers’ professional peers is equally or more effective than imposing monetary penalties based on patients’ complaints; 2) the possibility of retaliation against patients does not annul the effectiveness of reporting systems relying on peer shaming; 3) associating tangible consequences to complaints slightly lowers patients’ willingness to file such complaints, mainly due to the existence of pre-existing personal relationships with providers. Overall, our findings suggest that citizen monitoring systems that leverage peer pressure and reputational concerns may be a cost-effective approach to improving service delivery in developing countries.

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