Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Alexandr Lenk

Main content start

Graduate Student Fellowship | 2021 - 2022 Academic Year

The Role of Promises in Economic Development: A Cross-Regional Field Experiment in Egypt

Innovations in Methods and Data

Trust is the key sociological force that allows humans to rely on each other in their day-to-day interactions and could be of high economic significance, particularly in contexts where formal or legal enforcement of agreements is either unnatural or serious institutional impediments to formality exist. Alex's dissertation will contribute to the literature on “soft’’ enforcement devices in developing communities by identifying a novel tool: the adoption of a promise. Alex's field experiment will test whether promises induce higher rates of commitment fulfilment and disentangle its moral and signaling mechanisms. He will also study the policy implications of promise adoption in the context of boosting take-up rates of socially beneficial programs.

Alexandr Lenk, Department of Economics


Alex Lenk is a 4th year PhD student in economics at Stanford. His main areas of research are behavioral and development economics, with a special interest in the role of morality and moral norms in decision-making and the use of moral incentives as behavioral nudges. Lenk's secondary interests lie in the domain of machine learning and econometrics. He has worked on projects with the World Bank analyzing traffic video data in Nairobi and has designed large scale experiments as part of his internship at Amazon.‌

Return to past recipients of graduate student fellowships