Raisa Sherif

Raisa Sherif


I am a Post-doc at the department of Public Economics at the Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance in Munich. I completed my PhD in 2021 from the University of Munich and the Munich Graduate School of Economics. I received my undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology - Madras, India.

The goal of my research is to better understand pro-environmental behaviours and policy interventions targeted at encouraging individuals to engage in them. I study these topics by employing insights from behavioural economics and combining experimental methods like field, lab-in-the-field, and online survey experiments. Please find my research statement here.

  • Environmental economics
  • Behavioural economics
  • Development
  • PhD in Economics, 2021

    Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Munich Graduate School of Economics

  • Integrated Masters in Economics, 2014

    Indian Institute of Technology, Madras

Working Papers

Are pro-environment behaviours substitutes or complements? Evidence from the field.

Latest Draft

This paper uses a field experiment among adolescents in India to study how an intervention to increase one pro-environment activity (namely, recycling single-use plastic carry bags), spills over to other pro-environment activities. The paper shows using lab and field experiments combined with survey data that (i) providing information on the need to recycle does not change recycling levels, whereas (ii) providing incentives along with the information, leads to higher recycling. There is a positive spillover from the incentive treatment to other pro-environment activities. This positive spillover is observed among subjects who respond to the incentives and increase recycling. Notably, the positive spillover is also observed among those in this treatment who do not respond to the incentives and do not change recycling behaviour. This suggests complementarities among pro-environment behaviours and that interventions may have unaccounted positive effects on non-target environment behaviours.

Work in progress

Wins and losses in collective actions.

(with Biljana Meiske) AEA RCT Registry

Global warming, deforestation, destruction of wildlife, etc., all represent problems which require coordination on a global level to be successfully resolved. At the same time, they also have their representation on a smaller scale (e.g. on a local level). We study, using a field experiment, whether the experience of participation in a small-scale collective action affects the willingness to contribute in a related but larger collective action. Particularly, we are interested in the motivational and demotivational effects of having achieved a “small win” or having failed to do so, on scaling-up the collective effort, and the relative magnitude of these effects. Furthermore, we investigate whether success (failure) in the smaller scale collective action has heterogeneous effects on participants with different initial propensity to contribute.

Information campaigns, environment norms, and behaviour: Evidence from the field.

AEA RCT Registry

Information campaigns that aim to encourage pro-environment activities are a widely popular policy instrument. In addition to closing the information gap related to target behaviours, such interventions can potentially change the beliefs that individuals hold about the appropriateness of these behaviours. This is particularly likely in the context of environment behaviours because of the normative nature of interventions, where a ‘correct’ behaviour is often encouraged. We look at whether individuals respond to information campaigns in the environmental domain because of their informational value or because they expect the campaign to change the social norm around these behaviours, and want to adhere to these new norms. We aim to separately identify these two channels through a field experiment.

Shame or Spirituality? What Works in Improving Waste Management in Urban India.

(with Ahana Basistha, Vishal Narayan, Nishith Prakash)

Poor urban waste management has severe negative effects on health and economic outcomes. We conduct a randomized control trial among households in the Patna Municipal Corporation in Bihar, India to examine the effects of behavioural interventions on urban waste segregation. We test the impact of combining religious messaging with shame-based intervention on household segregation levels. By targeting the messages to different members of the household, we additionally explore the differences in intervention effectiveness that can potentially arise from tailoring the program to the most relevant decision maker.

Is there a Trade-off between Efficiency and Visibility in Pro-environmental Behaviours?

(with Sven Simon)

Individuals frequently engage in pro-environment behaviours that are not necessarily the most efficient in terms of environmental impact per unit of cost incurred. One potential reason for engaging in PEBs of lower efficiency is a preference for visibility. Individuals with a preference for being perceived as green could choose a PEB providing higher visibility over a more efficient but less visible one. We conduct a large-scale online experiment in Germany to examine whether individuals deliberately trade-off between visibility and efficiency in pro-environmental behaviours.

Incentivized vs Non-incentivized elicitation of norms.

AEA RCT Registry

Behavioural effects of contested monuments and their removal

(with Biljana Meiske)


Sanctioning, selection, and pivotality in voting: theory and experimental results

(with Kai Konrad) Ungated version


International Public Economics

Masters and PhD level, University of Munich, Germany

Student evaluation score 4.8/5. Detailed evaluation can be found here


Please check out the Lindau Mentoring Hub, a digital platform that connects mentors and mentees in science and academia, from across the world. You can sign up here.

The platform is developed in collaboration with the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings and is generously funded by the Dieter Schwarz Foundation.

Equality of opportunities

As the elected equal opportunities officer for the MPI for Tax Law and Public Finance, I spend some of my time advocating for and handling issues of inclusivity in science and academia. You can find out more about the initiatives of the Max Planck Society here. If you would like to get in touch, please write to raisa.sherif@tax.mpg.de.


I co-host the Max Planck Economics Podcast with Lisa Windsteiger and Jonas Send. Please find some of the episodes here:

  1. Social Media and the Survival of Autocracies with Galina Zudenkova

  2. How to Motivate Teams for Cognitively Challenging Tasks with Florian Englmaier

  3. Gender Equality, Parental Leave and the Gender Pay Gap with Andreas Peichl

  4. Does Participatory Theatre Empower Women? with Jyotsna Jalan


My friend Arun Sudarsan and I wrote a three part series for the newspaper Malayala Manorama. If you read Malayalam you can find them here, here, and here.