The Role of Beliefs in Social Interventions

James Tammesild & Max Munique

Student thesis: Master thesis


We address the heterogeneity in the effectiveness of social interventions by focusing on one specific mechanism through which it canarise; a person’s belief about how others behave. First, we conduct a social norm intervention to increase compliant book return behavior at the Copenhagen Business School Library. Second, we elicit people’s belief about others’ compliant book return behavior to determine if their belief type can predict the effectiveness of a social intervention in a Public Good Game. Third, we elicit people’s willingness to pay for social recognition at contribution rank first to last. Our results are threefold. First, participants exposed to a social norm message return 12.5% more of their loaned items on-time. Second, people with a below median belief about others’ compliant library behaviour, contribute on average 3.3% more to a public good when exposed to a social recognition intervention than when not. Third, people with a below median belief on average spend 29% of their willingness to pay budget to receive praise when ranked first, whereas participants with an above median belief on average spend 3% for the same preference. Our results help to explain the heterogeneity in the effectiveness of social interventions and suggest that a person’s belief can predict the efficacy of a social recognition intervention.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final ThesisMSc in Applied Economics and Finance, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages77
SupervisorsLuigi Butera