BERI faculty affiliates recently selected the winners of a behavioral health micro-grants competition, supported by funding from the UC-Berkeley Institute of International Studies. The competition provides travel and data collection funding to research studies focused on the intersection of behavioral economics and health.


1) Do legs matter? Why take up of prosthetic legs is low – Rwanda (John Loeser)

Behavioral biases, such as limited knowledge and perceived returns vs. costs, may inhibit take up of prosthetic legs in Rwanda. This study will examine the effects of the following interventions: providing additional information, giving use demonstrations, and supplying monetary incentives.


2) Influence of provider continuity on patient health-related behavior – United States (Jennifer Kwok)

Lack of provider continuity could cause delays in care-seeking behaviors in the U.S. This may be due to individuals’ limited cognitive resources and/or procrastination. This grant will be used to access Medicare and Medicaid Services data, in order to study the correlation between provider continuity and patient behavior outcomes.


3) Information asymmetry and safety in the garment industry – Bangladesh (Laura Boudreau)

Information asymmetry about workplace safety may constrain garment workers’ abilities to make optimal decisions about where to work. This project aims to provide garment workers in Bangladesh with information on factory safety audits; and study how it affects their choice of employer.


4) Peer influence to promote participation in after-school meal programs – United States (Lydia Ashton)

In collaboration with No Kid Hungry, this project to investigates if peer influence can be used to promote participation in afterschool meal programs. Researchers are conducting a field experiment (with approximately 16 US schools) that varies whether or not 3-5% of the student body in a given school receives incentives to spread the word about the availability of free meals afterschool. Students receive monetary and in-kind incentives for referring others to stay afterschool and eat a meal — exploiting the power of peer influence to promote a positive behavior.

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