Promoting in-person attendance for early childhood services after the COVID-19 pandemic using text messages
Autores: Andrés Ham, Juanita Ruiz, Óscar Iván Pineda-Diaz, Natalia Iriarte-Tovar, Juan Sebastián Cifuentes, María Fernanda Rodríguez-Camacho, Laura Feliza Vélez
This paper investigates whether text messages can encourage caregivers of young children to increase their intention to use in-person early childhood services and subsequently, actual attendance. We randomly assign 15,100 beneficiaries in 719 educational centers into one control and two treatment groups, the first in which caregivers receive four text messages designed to target risk and loss aversion for three weeks, while the second group receives the same number of messages reinforcing social norms that early childhood education is a civic duty. Results show greater reported intent from caregivers who receive text messages for their children to attend but no significant differences by the type of message. However, this increased willingness to attend does not translate into greater effective attendance. These findings suggest that while text messages may be useful to provide information to caregivers, these nudges require additional and complementary efforts to turn their reported intentions into actions.