Archive for July 2nd, 2013

IIMB students nudging to collect more aid for Uttarakhand..

July 2, 2013

Noticing some interesting nudges at IIM Bangalore (IIMB) like labeling bins seperately for waste food/utensils.

The best nudge I witnessed was by Vikasna, social service initiative undertaken by the students of IIMB.  In order to collect more aid for Uttarkahand disaster, they had to make 2 choices:

  • Standard : Ask students to contribute their chosen amount. In other words, students given a choice to tick-in to the aid option.
  • Based on Nudges : Just deduct a certain amount from all students’ monthly mess bill. Those who wished not to contribute for the fund, had to opt themselves out from the aid option.

The wise men chose the second option!  I am told it worked wonderfully with only a few opt-outs. Further, it was not really implemented post reading Nudge/or some other beh econ paper. The committee just thought that people do want to contribute but are lazy/don’t get time types and unable to work on the first option. So unlike what the rational school thinks, these ideas are pretty natural to come as well.

Nice bit..Could be applied at other places as well..

Will Indian society ever stand and wait in queues?

July 2, 2013

A fascinating piece in today’s Mint. It is by Tjaco Walvis, MD of brand agency THEY India.

He is miffed with two things:

  • Why Indians don’t queue up?
  • If they do rarely queue in say places like airports, then the first urge is to break the queue. Why those in queue do not object to the jumper?


On a more serious note, he calls this as part of cultural capital which India has to acquire. Recently he is seeing some improvements on both the issues on queuing. So something is moving.

The lines at the security check at the Delhi Metro are regularly of nearly Japan-like orderliness, where queues run around corners and can be a hundred metres long at rush hour. Queue jumpers are quite consistently asked to stand in line. It seems that security checks and retail concepts such as Starbucks—where visitors are gently coaxed to queue up—impact social behaviour in a way that transcends to other situations.

If this is a structural change that took place in only two or three years, perhaps an urban civil society is coming of age in India as we watch.
It took Europe around two centuries to develop an engaged middle class. It may take India only a few decades, or less, to acquire such “cultural capital”. This could have profound cultural, business and political implications—for the better.

These things do  matter.

Kaushik Basu in this super paper says how no one imagined a few decades ago that Koreans could be as punctual as they are today. Difficult to say woth precision, but this cultural capital should have played some role in  Korean growth story as well. Though, Prof Basu says the society can get out of this cultural trap and need not remain there.

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