Salma Mousa (WoGPoP)


Friday, February 11, 2022, 12:00pm to 1:30pm


Online via Zoom

This week's Speaker

Salma Mousa (Yale University), "Social pressure, information, and recycling: Experimental evidence from Lebanon"


Can social pressure encourage citizens to take costly action for the environment?  We leverage a field experiment in the Lebanese city of Bickfaya to answer this question. Partnering with the local municipality and a grassroots NGO, we evaluate a program that tracks citizens’ waste, inspects their waste bags, and sends them personalized feedback on how to improve their sorting. Two months after the intervention, we find that randomly inviting citizens to join the program improves their sorting quality by an average of 0.3 out of 5 stars (~11% relative to the control group mean). We also find effects on environmentally-conscious behaviors outside of waste sorting – four months after the intervention, treated households are double as likely to sign up for a raffle where prizes are explicitly “green” (4% vs. 8%). A survey of the city’s residents explores mechanisms driving these effects. These results suggest that social pressure, combined with knowledge on how to comply, can boost environmentally-conscious behaviors – even against the backdrop of economic and political crisis.

The Working Group in Political Psychology and Behavior (WoGPoP) is an interdisciplinary forum for the presentation and discussion of current research that uses a psychological and empirical orientation to examine the micro-foundations of citizen and elite behavior. Our topics include but are not limited to identity, emotion, culture, beliefs, preferences (including public opinion and individual preferences), rationality, norms, cognition, group dynamics, ethnic politics, context effects, attribution, information, bargaining and trust. This is a methodologically plural forum open to faculty, graduate students, and other members of the academic community.