We investigate heterogeneity in responsiveness to reminder letters among New York City parking ticket recipients. Using variation in the timing of letters, we find a strong aggregate response. But we find large differences across individuals: those with a low baseline propensity to respond to tickets—a natural nudge target—react least to letters. These low-response types, who incur significant late penalties, disproportionately come from already disadvantaged groups. They do react strongly to traditional, incentive-based interventions. We discuss how accounting for response heterogeneity might change one's approach to policy and how one might use our analysis to target interventions at low-response types.
Heffetz, Ori, Ted O'Donoghue, and Henry S. Schneider.
"Reminders Work, but for Whom? Evidence from New York City Parking Ticket Recipients."
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy,
Microeconomic Policy: Formulation, Implementation, and Evaluation
Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
Micro-Based Behavioral Economics: Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue