A Randomized Experiment on Perceptions and Preferences towards Chinese Foreign Investments in Germany

Last registered on January 23, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

A Randomized Experiment on Perceptions and Preferences towards Chinese Foreign Investments in Germany
Initial registration date
January 18, 2023

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
January 23, 2023, 6:47 AM EST

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



Primary Investigator

Paris School of Economics

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
DIW Berlin
PI Affiliation
DIW Berlin

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial is based on or builds upon one or more prior RCTs.
China’s rapid economic development and its central role as a driver of globalization have resulted in expanding economic ties with the European Union (EU) over the past few decades. However in the most recent years, given geo-political tensions there's also a lot of concerns within the EU over whether investment ties should be further strengthened with China. In this project, we plan to focus on one important dimension of such mutual economic ties: namely Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) between China and Germany, the latter of which is one of China's biggest investment partners within the EU.

Specifically, we propose to conduct a randomized information-provision survey experiment, in which we will survey the German public’s opinions towards inward Chinese Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in Germany, where we will investigate first of all, whether there are major misperceptions from the German public when it comes to the actual figures and status quo with regards to Chinese FDIs inside Germany. And secondly, we will study the contrasting causal effects of negative (and positive) Chinese FDI narratives versus Chinese FDI facts on the formation of preferences towards Chinese investments.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Mo, Zhexun, Carsten Schröder and Li Yang. 2023. "A Randomized Experiment on Perceptions and Preferences towards Chinese Foreign Investments in Germany." AEA RCT Registry. January 23. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.10741-1.0
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The German public's preferences towards Chinese investments, in terms of their ratings of hypothetical Chinese FDI proposals in Germany compared to FDI proposals from other EU countries or the US.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We will randomly divide our sample into four groups, namely three treatment groups and one control group. The four groups will be of equal sizes. In the first treatment group (T1), the respondents will be shown a positive narrative of inward Chinese FDIs in Germany from German politicians and experts. In the second treatment group (T2), the respondents will be shown a negative narrative of Chinese FDIs in Germany from German politicians and experts. In the third treatment group (T3), the respondents will be asked to state their own perceptions of the distribution of Chinese FDI in Germany, and then they will be confronted with the real figures (belief updates). Afterwards, we will be comparing individuals from each one of the treatment arms respectively with the control group, to show to which extent our respective treatments would alter (decrease or increase) the German public's support for Chinese FDI plans.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
The randomization procedure is implemented by computers by the admin team at the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in DIW-Berlin.
Randomization Unit
The unit of randomization is at the household Level, but the actual data collection will be at the individual level, which means all individuals within the same household will be allocated to the same treatment (control) group. Although the actual implementation will still be at the individual level, in the sense that individuals within the same household won't be jointly administered the same questionnaire at the same time (but rather interviewed separately on his/her own).
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
We will cluster at the household level as well (which is also our unit of randomization). In total, there will be around 1,500 clusters (households).
Sample size: planned number of observations
In total, we will have around 5,000 individual-level observations across 1,500 households within the Innovation Sample.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
We will have around 1,250 individual-level observations per treatment arms, i.e. 375 clusters (households) per treatment arm as well.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

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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