NOVAFRICA Seminar: Goals for Development: Experimental Evidence from Cassava Processors in Ghana

On Friday, May 06th, at 02.30pm (Lisbon time), on Room D – 106  the NOVAFRICA Center welcomes Patricio Dalton from the Tilburg University to present his work on “Goals for Development: Experimental Evidence from Cassava Processors in Ghana”.

Patricio Dalton

Workers’ motivation is a constraint for small firm growth in low-income countries. In this paper we test whether the practice of setting daily production goals can improve workers’ performance in informal agricultural small firms in Ghana. Workers and employers in Cassava processing firms are first trained in production measurement, and after a month, a sub-sample is randomly assigned to be also trained in setting production goals. We follow workers over two months and collect daily data on individual production and goals. We find a significant positive effect of goal setting on labor supply: workers that set goals increase output by 16% (0.30 sd.) and work around 40 minutes longer per day (0.24 sd.), relative to those trained only in production measurement. Goal setting is most effective for workers who are paid piece-rate, and for those who worked less prior the goals training. This paper provides a proof of concept that goal setting can be an effective and inexpensive practice to motivate workers in informal settings.

Find more about this seminar here.