Predicting Game: Global Health Part 3

Think you know human behavior? Are you up for another guessing game on behavioral experiments?

In our last post, we told you about a behavioral intervention that our Global Health and Development team conducted with the help of the Joep Lange Institute and PharmAccess Foundation.

In this intervention, our team gave away a few different types of calendars to people attending medical camps (where they received free medical care) in Nairobi, Kenya. The goal of this intervention was to increase health savings on a mobile wallet that is locked for health expenses – the M-Tiba platform.*

One challenge for our M-Tiba users is that they fail to deposit after signing up, even though most users we surveyed strongly agree that saving for health is very important.



Figure 1: The story calendar

Our team decided to test the effects of storytelling (Figure 1), as well as goal-setting and planning (Figure 2) on health savings. Based on a previous predicting game, we already knew that the storytelling calendar led to greater savings compared to the control calendar. We asked you to guess whether the storytelling or goal-setting calendar would lead to greater health savings on the M-Tiba platform.

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Figure 2: The goal-setting calendar

Only 29% of you correctly predicted that the goal-setting calendar led to greater savings compared to the storytelling calendar, and that this difference was not significant. As you might recall from our last post, 7.5% of those who received the storytelling calendar saved at least once, compared to 0% of those who received the control calendar. Of those who received the goal-setting calendar, however, 12.8% saved at least once.

Moreover, men and women seem to have different expenses in mind to cut down on:


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Figure 3: Unnecessary spending reported by women (left) and men (right). The size of each word indicates the number of times each word was reported.

Although the “story editing” approach leveraged by the storytelling calendar effectively increased savings, goal-setting was just as effective. While the storytelling calendar may have led people to change the narratives they usually tell themselves about saving, the goal-setting and planning calendar forced users to interact with the calendar more often.

Since a simple M-Tiba branded calendar did not increase saving, it is possible that users did not actively engage with this calendar as much as they did with the other two. It is conceivable that including a story or asking people to write down a savings goal served as more engaging reminders, making M-Tiba users more likely to save.


calendar forced users to interact with the calendar more often

Figure 4: The control calendar

If you missed last month’s predicting game, or would like to try your hand at a predicting game that has nothing to do with calendars, check out this month’s game:

Another way in which we try to increase savings is by sending SMS reminders (with support from the Joep Lange Institute and PharmAccess Foundation). This month, we are asking you to guess which of three SMS reminders led to the greatest savings on M-Tiba. The three messages, always sent on Saturdays, were:

Control: Remember to save as little as 10/- today!

Social Proof: Remember to save as little as 10/- today. Every Saturday, thousands of M-PESA users save in M-TIBA.

Voucher: Remember to save as little as 10/- today to get a voucher of 500/-. Extra bonus for Savings on Saturdays this month.

Which of these three SMS reminders led to the greatest savings? Make your guess via this link. If you guess correctly, your foresight could win you a free e-book!

We would also like to congratulate Patrick, the lucky winner of our last predicting game! A free ebook copy of Dollars and Sense has been sent to you a via email.

* M-Tiba is digital health platform that includes a wallet on a mobile phone containing specified entitlements for healthcare. Users can use this wallet to save (for their family’s health), get insurance, receive money from more affluent relatives elsewhere in the country, from donors, and even from individuals in other countries willing to donate directly for health (remittances).