Experimental Design Details
Detailed Experimental Design
The Luck and Merit treatments include two stages and are quite similar to each other (both are based on Almas et al., 2020). The only difference between them is the source of inequality: In the Merit treatment it is based on performance in a task and in the Luck treatment it is random (each participant in a pair has the same probability to get the money for performing a task). The Taste treatment involves another stage. The details are given below.
Stage 1: Participants ("workers") perform a task. Upon completion, they are randomly matched into pairs. In each pair, one worker is randomly chosen (with probability 0.5) to receive 12 ILS for completing the task and the other receives no reward.
Stage 2: Additional participants ("spectators") are randomly assigned to the pairs. Each spectator decides how to redistribute the earnings in the pair (the options are 12-0, 10-2, 8-4, 6-6, 4-8, 2-10 and 0-12).
Stage 1: As the Luck treatment but the worker who receives the monetary amount for the task is the one who performed better in the task.
Stage 2: As in the Luck treatment.
Workers will perform two tasks. The first will be the basis for the Luck treatment and will not be graded. The second will be graded and will be the basis of the Merit treatment. Pairs of workers will be matched randomly and separately for each treatment.
Stage 1: Participants will be asked to describe themselves in a paragraph using up to 200 words. After they write down this description they will be told that they will be randomly matched with another participant who completed the same task. In the second stage of the experiment a different participant (which we call here the "benefactor") will perform a task, earn 12 ILS for her/his performance, and will then be asked to transfer the amount to one of the two participants. The benefactor will be shown the paragraphs written by both participants and, based on them, will have to make his transfer decision.
Note: The participants write down the paragraphs before they read about the next stages of the payment procedure, i.e., they do not know the purpose of the paragraphs at the time of writing.
Stage 2: Benefactors will be recruited. They will perform a task and earn 12 ILS for it. They will then be shown the two paragraphs written by a randomly chosen pair from stage 1. They will be told that these paragraphs are the self-description that was written by the participants before the payment mechanism was explained to them. Based on these paragraphs, the benefactors will be asked to decide to whom to transfer their earnings (they will be told upfront that they cannot keep their earnings but may choose to whom it will be transferred).
Stage 3: Spectators will be given the opportunity to redistribute the money in the pair as in the Luck and Merit treatments.
1. We refer in the pre-registration (but not in the experiment) to the participant who receives the money from the benefactor as the "beneficiary".
2. All the information regarding the different stages and the payment procedure is made clear in the instructions to all participants in the most transparent manner (see instructions that will be made public after the experiment is completed).
3. Spectators will redistribute money only for one pair from one treatment (i.e., the analysis will be held between participants).
Almås, I., Cappelen, A.W., & Tungodden, B. (2020). Cutthroat capitalism versus cuddly
socialism: Are Americans more meritocratic and efficiency-seeking than
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