Journal Publications

A megastudy of text-based nudges encouraging patients to get vaccinated at an upcoming doctor’s appointment

Katherine L. Milkman, Mitesh S. Patel, Linnea Gandhi, Heather N. Graci, Dena M. Gromet, Hung Ho, Joseph S. Kay, Timothy W. Lee, Modupe Akinola, John Beshears, Jonathan E. Bogard, Alison Buttenheim, Christopher F. Chabris, Gretchen B. Chapman, James J. Choi, Hengchen Dai, Craig R. Fox, Amir Goren, Matthew D. Hilchey, Jillian Hmurovic, Leslie K. John, Dean Karlan, Melanie Kim, David Laibson, Cait Lamberton, Brigitte C. Madrian, Michelle N. Meyer, Maria Modanu, Jimin Nam, Todd Rogers, Renante Rondina, Silvia Saccardo, Maheen Shermohammed, Dilip Soman, Jehan Sparks, Caleb Warren, Megan Weber, Ron Berman, Chalanda N. Evans, Christopher K. Snider, Eli Tsukayama, Christophe Van den Bulte, Kevin G. Volpp, and Angela L. Duckworth (2021), Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Many Americans fail to get life-saving vaccines each year, and the availability of a vaccine for COVID-19 makes the challenge of encouraging vaccination more urgent than ever. We present a large field experiment (N = 47,306) testing 19 nudges delivered to patients via text message and designed to boost adoption of the influenza vaccine. Our findings suggest that text messages sent prior to a primary care visit can boost vaccination rates by an average of 5%. Overall, interventions performed better when they were 1) framed as reminders to get flu shots that were already reserved for the patient and 2) congruent with the sort of communications patients expected to receive from their healthcare provider (i.e., not surprising, casual, or interactive). The best-performing intervention in our study reminded patients twice to get their flu shot at their upcoming doctor’s appointment and indicated it was reserved for them. This successful script could be used as a template for campaigns to encourage the adoption of life-saving vaccines, including against COVID-19.

Manuscripts under Revision/Review (* equal author contribution)

Speedy activists: Firm response time to sociopolitical events influences consumer behavior

Jimin Nam, Maya Balakrishnan, Julian De Freitas, & Alison Wood Brooks, under second-round review at Journal of Consumer Psychology.

Recently, organizations face growing pressure from their consumers and stakeholders to take a public stance on sociopolitical issues, yet many are hesitant to do so lest they make missteps, appear inauthentic, or alienate consumers, employees, or other stakeholders. Here we investigate how firms take such stances by asking: What are consumers’ impressions of firms that respond quickly (vs. slowly) to sociopolitical events? Using field data from Instagram and three online experiments, we find that consumers express more positive sentiment and greater purchasing intentions toward firms that react speedily to sociopolitical issues, because they treat response time as an informative cue of whether a firm a) truly supports the sociopolitical issue (authenticity) and b) will engage with it in a sustained manner over time (commitment). At the same time, we identify an important boundary condition: speedy responses bring limited benefits when the issue is highly divisive along political lines. These findings bridge literatures on brand activism and communication, and offer practical insights for firms looking to engage in sociopolitical activism online.

Differentiating on Diversity: How Disclosing Workforce Diversity Improves Brand Attitudes

Maya Balakrishnan*, Jimin Nam*, & Ryan Buell, invited for revision at Production and Operations Management.

Companies are facing increased pressure to "walk the talk" on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). One specific call-to-action from stakeholders is the public disclosure of EEO-1s. Companies with 100+ employees are federally mandated to annually report the intersectional diversity data of their workforce in the EEO-1. We examine how consumers perceive the strategic decision companies make regarding whether to disclose workforce diversity information. We find no evidence that a company’s disclosure of its EEO-1 negatively affects attitudes or perceived company commitment to diversity, even when it reveals racial disparities across job categories. Instead, we find that consumers perceive firms that disclose their EEO-1 more positively and to be more committed to DEI initiatives, relative to firms that choose not to disclose.

The Tainted Donor Dilemma

Emily Prinsloo, Jimin Nam, & Elizabeth A. Keenan, invited for revision at Journal of Consumer Research.

Tainted donors (i.e., donors who have become embroiled in a social or legal scandal by means of a transgression) present a difficult tradeoff for nonprofits—balancing the need for funds against engaging with a controversial funding source. Seven studies, plus six in the web appendix, find that consumers penalize nonprofits that accept funds from tainted (versus non-tainted) donors—even though those funds support goals that consumers endorse. Consumers ascribe less moral credit and trust to these organizations and are less likely to donate to them. The effects hold in consequential donation paradigms, across low and high donation amounts, for money and goods donations, and when donors become tainted after a donation. Nonprofits are seen as hypocritical for failing to reject or return tainted donations, acting inconsistently with their implicit role of endorsing the “good,” which drives consumers’ negative reactions. Nonprofits can mitigate consumers’ negative reactions by communicating that the donation will “do good” since this highlights how keeping the donation is aligned with the nonprofits’ values. They can also return funds or redirect funds to a different nonprofit. This research demonstrates the ramifications nonprofits face when receiving funds from tainted donors and offers solutions to this marketing challenge.