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Lucas C. Coffman, Clayton R. Featherstone, Judd B. Kessler
The researchers show, through the use of a random control trial, that people can be influence on the decision of whether or not to take a job by subtle information, specifically information about others in their position. A trial group of college graduates were offered a job with Teach for America with a letter including the high percentage of those who were offered and accepted the job the previous year. The trial group was more likely to also accept the job than those graduates in the control group.
The idea that subtle interventions an shape citizen behavior is growing more popular in policy circles. The authors show here that subtle information sharing can change decisions not only in low-stakes situations but in high stakes, life altering situations as well. Policymakers should take care to be transparent in the information they share when asking the public to make decisions, and if possible, subtly encourage decision-making that is beneficial for broader society.
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