Research

Working Papers

Allocation choice in charitable giving: a natural field experiment 

This paper examines whether and why charitable giving increases if donors have more choice about how their donations are used, in which choice consists of allowing donors to allocate their gift to three projects the way they prefer. In this project, I have partnered with the Down Syndrome Albania Foundation and 22 firms that support this NGO, and found that allowing donors to allocate their gifts increased giving mainly because they could target the projects they like. 


Work in progress

Let me choose what I'm best at: a natural field experiment with volunteers. AEA RCT Registry (2023 Young Economist Award - Czech Economic Association)


In this study, I examine whether and why volunteers exert more effort when they can choose their volunteering task and whether this choice increases their willingness to volunteer in the future. Further, I compare the effect of a task choice with the effect of providing monetary rewards that do not intend to crowd out their intrinsic motivation. In a natural field experiment, over 4400 students in four public high schools in Tirana were asked to write awareness messages for one of the following causes: bullying, depression, and social inclusion of people with disabilities. Treatments varied in whether students could choose tasks, be matched with a random task, have their abilities matched with the task, or receive a sizeable ex-post performance contingent reward. Having choice increases the volunteering output and enhances the output's quality, leaving the willingness to volunteer in the future and task enjoyment unaffected. While this autonomy effect is unlikely to persist when choice is removed, I show that offering volunteers choice rather than money is cost-effective. Lastly, I provide causal evidence that choice increases output because people choose tasks they are good at and not because they value choice or care more about specific tasks. 



Desirable ideal or achievable reality? A field experiment on parental aspirations in Albania with Enkelejda Havari, Rebecca Dizon Ross & Esmeralda Zhabjaku Shehaj

People often guide their present human capital decisions based on aspirations about the future, and sometimes, these decisions are inefficient because their aspirations are unrealistic. In collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Sports in Albania, this study proposes an individualized information intervention to change parents' unrealistic aspirations regarding their children's college education. The main research question is whether individualized information about the probability of college eligibility will affect the secondary education choices parents make for their children upon completing middle school, specifically in choosing between academic or vocational tracks. We hypothesize that parents misperceive their kids' chances of making it to college conditional on choosing the academic track and that updating their beliefs could change their aspirations and lead to more efficient secondary education decisions. Furthermore, this study explores the role of hope in shaping aspirations. Parents may harbor hope that their children will excel academically in high school, ultimately securing college admission. However, presenting individualized predictions about college eligibility based on (slightly/significantly) improved performance in high school may also impact parents' aspirations and actual decisions. We will then link the choices they make in the experiment with administrative data on actual enrollment decisions. Lastly, we plan to track the academic performance of treated and untreated kids in the first semesters of high school to test whether the individualized information provision will affect grades.