Feedback Design and Preference Elicitation: Field Experiments in Digital Economics

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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What opportunities does digitalization offer for the design and evaluation of individual feedback? The adoption of digital technologies in the workplace, education, and consumer settings enables information about one’s choices and actions to be stored in bits, which substantially reduces the cost of storing, computing, and transmitting data on individual behavior. This thesis investigates how principals in different settings can use these technologies and data to design and evaluate tailored feedback programs based on individual effort profiles. The first two studies focus on the workplace and report on impact evaluations of a tailored peer-comparison feedback program and a peer-coaching program. The main finding is that peer coaching is effective in improving worker productivity, especially among workers who initially performed poorly, but the improvements tend to diminish over time. Tailored peer-comparison feedback is generally ineffective in altering workers’ behavior. The third study employs a new online learning platform to measure student effort and to target procrastination by letting students observe in real time how they perform relative to their own study plans. A field experiment shows that this treatment induces students to set more ambitious study goals, but actual study effort and learning outcomes are unaffected. The final study uses a new communication technology from a field partner to elicit both incentive-compatible and non-incentivized individual risk attitudes of a large group of consumers in a natural field setting. The studies in this thesis highlight the many promises and a few limitations of digitalization for tailored feedback design and individual preference elicitation.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Soetevent, Adriaan, Supervisor
  • Haan, Marco, Supervisor
Award date19-Oct-2020
Place of PublicationGroningen
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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