Can Positive Psychology Improve Psychological Wellbeing and Economic Decision-Making?

Abstract

We conduct a randomized experiment to evaluate the effect of a light-touch psychological intervention on psychological wellbeing and economic decision-making in a developing- country setting. Numerous psychological studies suggest that simple, light-touch interventions are effective in improving psychological wellbeing, particularly in sub-clinical populations. However, little is known about the effectiveness of such interventions in developing country populations or whether improvements in psychological wellbeing affect economic decision-making. Both our setting and such interventions–due to their scalability– are of particular interest because low psychological wellbeing is thought to be a barrier to development. Residents of an informal settlement in Kenya were randomly assigned to either a control condition, or an experimental condition in which they participated in a combination of psychological exercises aimed at improving psychological wellbeing over the course of two weeks. Thepsychological interventions consisted of a “Count Your Blessings” exercise encouraging participants to recall and write down five good things about their life every day,

  • Country
    Kenya
  • Behavior
    Psychological Well Being
  • Sector
    Political Participation and Accountability
  • Authors
    Victoria Baranov, Johannes Haushofer, Chaning Jang
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