Development institutions have started to recognize the role of aspiration-related barriers in the creation of poverty traps. Aspirations, understood as reference points, define milestones for individuals. In the case of individuals living in poorer areas, aspirations are often assumed to be low given the perceived hopelessness that many face. Recent research aims to understand how aspirations form and how they affect the behavior of individuals living in poverty, to better direct efforts that would allow them to improve their livelihoods. Less attention has been however paid to the actual measurement of aspirations and empirical assessment of the channels through which they are formed. This project aims to fill this gap by developing an experimental benchmark measure of aspirations against which a range of proposed survey questions aimed to capture aspirations can be validated. Also, it aims to analyze the relative role of personal and social factors in forming aspirations. It includes different sets of treatments consisting of performance comparisons with peers.
This trial connects with AEARCTR-0002632. The same recruitment strategy will be employed. The ethical approval extends to this aspirations game.