This post is based on the Bharat Bandh (India Shut) yesterday.
The recent strike was called by the opposition party and some allied parties of the ruling government. The purpose was protesting against the petrol price hike of Rs 7.5/litre in one shot. Not discussing this issue as much is already known. Gulzar has an amazing post on this.
The strike bit is interesting from the behavioral econ perspective. Whether the strike should be an opt-in or an opt-out?
- Opt-in is a choice where people can decide to join in the strike. This will be based on whether they want to be part of the movement.
- Opt-out is where all people are included in the strike movement and it is upto them to opt-out of the movement.
What is the difference? Lots actually.
Take the case of people. For a strike to be meaningful is should ideally be an opt-in where people decide to be part of the movement. This way only those who feel committed to the cause become part of it and demonstrate accordingly.
In an opt-out choice, people are not sure whether they should opt out or not. Take the case of the strike. Quite a few people choose to stay put not because they feel committed to the cause. But because they are scared that either there will be physically harmed or their activities will be destroyed. For those who stay home but not related to the cause, it just becomes a holiday.
However, if we take the case of politicians it is opposite. An opt-out makes more sense as it is likely to lead to larger numbers compared to opt-in case. This way they will show the ruling party the strength they have before the elections etc. The ruling party in turn will say people basically stayed at homes because of fear and not really for the cause.
How to decide for an opt-out vs opt-in strike? Well, it depends on the situation. If the strikers want to fight for a cause and want dedicated people, they should choose an opt-in. However, in case they want to show numbers choosing an opt-out could work. But in opt-out case there should also be credible penalties in case people opt out, otherwise it might just fizzle out.