3ie Impact Evaluation Report 9

No margin, no mission? Evaluating the role of incentives in the distribution of public goods in Zambia

3ie Impact Evaluation Report 9, 2013

This study by Nava Ashraf, Oriana Bandiera and Kelsey Jack evaluates the impact of different incentive mechanisms on the performance of community-based agents (i.e. hairdressers) engaged in the promotion and sale of female condoms for the prevention HIV in Lusaka, Zambia. The study showed that public recognition was more effective in generating sales than financial rewards. Overall, the findings suggest that non-financial rewards can be a cost-effective means to motivate agents, especially when social gains have a higher utility than financial gains. It also opens new avenues for NGOs and other organisations involved in the distribution of health and other ‘social goods’ to design innovative, cheaper and more effective methods to motivate their agents.

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