Can incentives improve information dissemination among agents or do hidden pitfalls exist?

Incentivising agents can often be a double-edged sword. While it can lead to agents improving their efficiency, it can also lead to undesirable consequences such as focusing on the incentivised task at the expense of others. In this VoxDev talk, Maitreesh Ghatak discusses an innovative experiment in India where local agents were hired to spread information about a public health insurance programme. Interestingly, the researchers find that incentives improved information dissemination, but only when agents were spreading information to people from caste, income, and education groups different from their own.

India Incentives Social distance Caste Information dissemination Multitasking