Collection of Delinquent Fines: An Adaptive Randomized Trial to Assess the Effectiveness of Alternative Text Messages

Laura C. Haynes*, Donald P. Green, Rory Gallagher, Peter John, David J. Torgerson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The collection of delinquent fines is a vast and ongoing public administration challenge. In the United Kingdom, unpaid fines amount to more than 500 million pounds. Managing noncompliant accounts and dispatching bailiffs to collect fines in person is costly. This paper reports the results of a large randomized controlled trial, led by the UK Cabinet Office's Behavioural Insights Team, which was designed to test the effectiveness of mobile phone text messaging as an alternative method of inducing people to pay their outstanding fines. An adaptive trial design was used, first to test the effectiveness of text messaging against no treatment and then to test the relative effectiveness of alternative messages. Text messages, which are relatively inexpensive, are found to significantly increase average payment of delinquent fines. We found text messages to be especially effective when they address the recipient by name.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)718-730
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Policy Analysis and Management
Volume32
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2013

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