One comment on “The Moral Economy

  1. You linked to the daycare study, so I read it before continuing the post…and it answered one of your questions: the money went to the owner, not the teacher. I think that the teachers were not paid overtime, which is a separate issue. The teachers just recorded who was late, as they had been doing before, and the fine was added to the monthly bill. It probably would have been more aversive if the fine had been demanded immediately (though for all I know the teachers had already been scolding the parents).

    Before the fines, there were an average of 2 late arrivals per day, so it was pretty rare for teachers to leave on time. So bumping it up to 4 didn’t create much more work for them, unless the severity of lateness also increased, which it probably did, but the paper doesn’t seem to talk about, just dichotomizing at 10 minutes. At a fine of $2.72, they probably could pay for an hour of teacher overtime. Probably they should double the fines. So I think the system passes on a willingness-to-pay metric.

    (The shekel to dollar conversion is given in the paper. Perhaps a more relevant comparison is that the fine was 2/3 of the minimum hourly wage.)

    The teachers did not know that it was an experiment.

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