Reducing Free-Riding in Public Goods: An Experimental Approach to Improving Payment Compliance for Trash Collection in the Dominican Republic
This is a collaborative project with the City government of Santo Domingo to design and evaluate different interventions to improve payment compliance for public garbage collection. In a first stage, we will analyze data on payment histories, as well as undertake targeted interviews and focus groups to gain a deeper understanding of the determinants of payment compliance. In the second stage, we will design and implement several randomized controlled trials to evaluate different behavioral and non-behavioral approaches to reduce free-riding. The interventions considered are: 1) Simplification of communication and payment instructions; 2) A lottery for households with timely payments; 3) Informing households about the consequences on their credit history of not paying the bill; 4) Informing households about debt relief options, and 5) Informing citizens about actual compliance rates in high compliance neighborhoods. This will shed light on how to improve a state’s capacity to effectively collect payments for government services.