Beliefs and Ingroup Favoritism with Children

Last registered on October 25, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

Beliefs and Ingroup Favoritism with Children
Initial registration date
October 07, 2022

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
October 17, 2022, 11:54 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
October 25, 2022, 8:20 AM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
In this project, we investigate whether ingroup favoritism among children can be driven by guilt-aversion (Battigalli and Dufwenberg, 2007). A guilt-averse individual avoids disappointing others’ expectations. In a group context, if the decision-maker (DM) believes that ingroup members expect more pro-sociality from him than outgroup members, then the DM will discriminate in favor of ingroup members to fulfill their expectations (but not necessarily because he prefers them or because he believes it will lead to further benefit from him). Guth et al. (2009) were the first to show that guilt-aversion might be a driver of ingroup favoritism in adults (later replicated by Guala et al., 2013, and by Ockenfels and Werner, 2014).
The current project is inspired by the design of Ockenfels and Werner (2014). We intend to provide further evidence on the role of second-order beliefs in ingroup favoritism. However, our main contribution is derived from our non-traditional participants pool which is composed of school children from age 7 to 11 years old (in France). Previous research with children has often shown that ingroup favoritism increases with age (e.g., Aboud, 2003, Fehr, 2008; Guroglu et al., 2014; Yu et al., 2016). If our account on the role of guilt aversion is relevant, findings should reveal that ingroup bias is linked to the development of understanding of second-order beliefs and of social perspective-taking more generally. To test this hypothesis, we measure– not only donation behaviors – but also beliefs and theory-of-mind skills.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Blaye, Agnes and Claire Rimbaud. 2022. "Beliefs and Ingroup Favoritism with Children." AEA RCT Registry. October 25.
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
- Age
- Gender
- School grade
- Order: IN then OUT or OUT then IN
- Team: Tiger or Dolphin
- Identification: whether child prefers to be friend with an ingroup or outgroup
- Donations: number of tokens between 0 and 10 (for each of the 6 recipients)
- General beliefs: whether the child believes ingroup/outgroup (or blind/sighted) expects to receive more or the same (for each of the 3 belief scenario)
- Specific beliefs: number of tokens between 0 and 10 that the child believes the recipient expect to receive (for each of the 6 recipients).
- Errors in Director’s Task (for each trial)
- Comprehension score (0 to 2) in Strange Stories
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
- School
- School type (public or private)
- Time of the day
- Left- or right-handed
- Comprehension issues (for each decision and belief scenario)
- Beliefs justification
- Number of siblings
- Number of years in this school
- Response times in Director’s Task (for each trial)
- Wished bag: from which bag the child would have liked to pick his/her envelope.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This study is composed of two waves. The two waves will be separated by a minimum of one week. For each wave, children are tested individually in a private room.

• First wave
Team choice: Children decide to which team he wants to belong for the remaining of the experiment.
Donations (incentivized): Each child makes six donations (within-subjects). The child (the dictator) can donate up to 10 tokens to another child (the recipient) and keeps the rest for himself. The recipients are not in the dictator’s school, and none of the participants will know each other’s name. The recipients also belong to a team. The donations are presented by pairs in three scenarios to make the contrast between different recipients more salient, but the two donations in each scenario are independent (i.e., two classic dictator games). The scenarios refer to the team membership of the two recipients (and to the knowledge of the two recipients): IN-OUT (Sighted-Sighted), IN-IN (Blind-Sighted) and OUT-OUT (Blind-Sighted). When the recipient is “Sighted”, both the dictator and the recipient know each other’s team and this is common knowledge. When the recipient is “Blind”, the recipient does not know the dictator’s team while the dictator still knows the recipient’s team; and this is common knowledge.
Beliefs (non-incentivized): The child has to guess the beliefs of hypothetical recipients in three scenarios matching the donation scenarios.

• Second wave
Director’s Task (Dumontheil et al., 2010): This task (presented on a tablet) assesses the ability of children to use information about another’s person perspective in their actions (referential communication).
Theory of Mind Tasks (O'Hare et al. 2009): These tasks assess children’s ability to use another person A’s knowledge on Person B to deduce how A reasons about B’s beliefs, via short stories.
Payout: At the end of Wave 2, the experimenter lets children pick two envelopes. One envelope is randomly drawn from the ones he/she kept for him/herself as dictator. One envelope is randomly drawn from the ones meant for his/her team. Children can then exchange the tokens received for stickers (animals, cars, etc.).
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Two treatments randomise the order of the scenarios :
- In Order 1: children first face the IN-IN (Blind-Sighted) scenario, then the OUT-OUT (Blind-Sighted) scenario
- In Order 2 : this order is reversed.
Experimentalists alternate between seeing one child in Order 1 and one child in Order 2
Randomization Unit
Individual (child) level
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
We plan to recruit 240 children. Given the constraints of in-school recruitment, this targeted sample size will probably not be met exactly.
Sample size: planned number of observations
We plan to recruit 240 children. Given the constraints of in-school recruitment, this targeted sample size will probably not be met exactly.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
120 children by treatment.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Innsbruck Ethical Comittee
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials