Understanding when and where face-to-face communication affects pro-environmental decisions is important for policymakers. We study a data set collected in a solicitation project intended to increase participation in a community-financed waste collection program in Indonesia. Two types of messages are developed and randomly assigned to 748 households. In addition, solicitors are randomly assigned to a control group or one of two treatment groups, and these groups are shuffled further midway through the project. These two orthogonal randomizations allow us to assess the impact of a combination of messages, solicitors and households. We find that the “help the children” message increases the probability of participation for households with a young child. Solicitor personality is associated with immediate participation but becomes nonsignificant after three months. Furthermore, a household is more likely to participate if a solicitor knows the respondent personally. These results suggest that, at least in the short term, important factors in encouraging behavioral changes include not only the contents of messages but also the type of sender of such messages. This paper highlights the possible impact of targeting and content-sender-receiver matching when persuasive communication is used as an environmental policy instrument.
Keywords: Aggregate redistributional effects, Indonesia, Message, Persuasive communication, Randomized field experiment, Sanitation, Waste collection