May 21st, 2019
We have slightly adjusted the structure of our Behavioral Lens to keep it light and brief for you, our readers. We will continue to include perspectives on BE in the Global South as well as share new experimental findings as they are released to the public. We endeavor to make the results from our lab experiments as accessible as possible to the public and encourage you to suggest topics that you are curious to learn more about!

01 - Num6ers

Interesting stats or figures from the past week to put global issues in perspective

Sh 131


Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has received $1.3 million Google Artificial Intelligence Impact Challenge grant to develop a smartphone app for doctors to remotely diagnose antibiotic resistance among poor households.



The number that African consumers are losing on average through rising SIM swap fraud. Global cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab has issued an alert over fresh wave of attacks targeting financial and online services.


Number of employees working for Whatsapp, which has 1.5bn users globally.

02 - Fresh from the Lab

New insights, trends, and findings for behavioral science in the Global South

Conditions for data sharing

Recent research has suggested that individuals deeply care about data privacy, but rarely take significant action to protect themselves, a curious contradiction that we want to understand further. So, we designed an experiment to uncover how consumers interact and select the data they are willing to share with providers, more specifically how certain defaults (the opt-in / opt-out options in a submission form) might impact sharing preferences.

To do this, we paid individuals for rights to their data over a two-week period through a data scraping application we built that they downloaded on their smart phones. Respondents were paid for each probe they were willing to share (50 KES / probe), up to a total of 350 KES. In addition, to understand how willingness to share might shift based on the default, we added an additional variation:

  • Half of the participants had the in-app default set as sharing all of the probes for 350 KES, from which they could deselect (opt-out) individual probes and reduce their earnings. 
  • The other half of participants started with no shared probes and had to individually select (opt-in) probes to share up to a total of 350 KES. 

What we found:

Here we see that simply by changing the default, we find strikingly different sharing preferences. In the opt-out scenario, 87% of people are willing to share their full data, but in the opt-in, only 27% are willing to share it in total. 

We will be doing further work regarding Data Privacy over the next few months - stay tuned for more content!

03 - Links we liked

Recently published journals, papers, blog posts or just interesting snippets we enjoyed

  • Rwandan e-retailer "Kasha" sets up in KenyaThrough the Kasha platform, customers can order pharmaceuticals, contraceptives, HIV self-test kits and sanitary products, among others, and will receive the products via boda through a partnership with Sendy and Tez Logistics.
  • This Harvard study collected data from 4.4 million online tests from 2007-2016 to measure implicit bias (the biases we aren't aware of) amongst american citizens. They found strong evidence of reduced bias on the basis of race and sexuality (but a rise in bias against people based on body weight!)
  • This paper studied the effect of an early-career setback amongst junior scientists and found that individuals with "near misses" in grants systematically outperformed those with near wins in the longer run, as their publications in the next ten years garnered substantially higher impact. Build up that CV of failures early! 
  • This creepy new product Audio analytic detects when you engage with certain products (opening a soda can, crisps crunch) to better market to you! Their tagline says it all "We've trained our technology to recognise a large number of audio events and acoustic scenes, from a cough to a knock on the door."

Press Feature

We are proud to share an article based on our research which was featured in The Star, Further Africa and Business Daily. The paper, “The impact of recipient choice on aid effectiveness”, was authored by Jeremy Shapiro, our Board President, and found that direct cash transfers have as much impact on the poor as common development programmes of the same cost. Read the full article for more insights!

Have a lovely week!

Copyright © 2019 Busara Center for Behavioral Economics, All rights reserved.

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