Threats, Pledges, And Asset Misreporting: A Framed Field Experiment In Indonesia

We investigate the impact of behavioural interventions on asset misreporting in the context of welfare benefits in Indonesia. Benefiting from a policy change allowing households to self-report their assets, we employ a series of framed field experiments with 599 welfare benefit applicants in 26 Indonesian villages to test whether two text stimuli interventions discourage dishonest asset self-reporting. We find men are more likely to be dishonest than women, and that verification threats, but not honesty pledges, significantly reduce the likelihood of under-reporting. Further, men are more responsive to behavioural interventions than women. Our study highlights the importance of text stimuli with the right content in reducing misreporting, and that small changes in the design of a reporting form can lead to better data quality for welfare targeting in developing countries.