BioLife Behavioral Change Program

Last registered on March 30, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

BioLife Behavioral Change Program
Initial registration date
March 30, 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
March 30, 2023, 4:07 PM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
We designed and conducted a series of experiments in partnership with a large pharmaceutical company operating over 150 plasma donation centers, with the aim of promoting sustainable behaviors in the workplace. Our study employed social norms to nudge employees towards reducing electricity and plastic consumption and increasing recycling. We randomly assigned participating centers to four groups of three treatment arms, with one pure control group. Each center was involved in one experiment only. The interventions involved five key elements, including intervention, tier board tracking, education, signage, and communication. For reducing electricity consumption, we focused on how long freezer doors remained open. To reduce plastic waste, we focused on dropped collection materials that must be discarded once they are dropped. Lastly, for recycling, we focused on uncollapsed cardboard waste and plastic contamination in recycling dumpsters. Through these interventions, we can measure the effectiveness of nudging and promoting sustainable behaviors in the workplace. Our study design can serve as a model for future research in similar contexts, shedding light on successful approaches to promoting sustainable practices in the workplace. As such, our work will contribute to filling the gap in the current literature.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Ha, Lan and Christopher Knittel. 2023. "BioLife Behavioral Change Program." AEA RCT Registry. March 30.
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Experimental Details


The intervention at treated centers comprised of five major elements: 1) intervention, 2) tier board tracking, 3) education, 4) signage, and 5) communication. On the other hand, the control group received
no intervention, tier board tracking, education, signage, or communication. The intervention in Wave 1 is to display the softgood drops in the employee area. For Wave 2, we install audible alarms in treated centers. For Wave 3, we share contaminant counts from recycling bins with treated centers.

In addition to the intervention, all centers in the treatment group received: 1) Tier board tracking: A tier board tracks X Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and is updated manually on a daily basis. To keep the intervention at the forefront of center operations, we introduced a new experiment-specific metric to each center's tier board; 2) Education: An online training session was assigned to all center employees two weeks prior to the wave launch. The training was specifically designed for the targeted behavior outcome and aimed to introduce employees to corporate environmental targets, program values, and the proposed intervention. It is important to note that the online training was the only component of the treatment that was not present throughout the entire experiment; 3) Signage: Posters were strategically placed throughout treated centers to increase employees' awareness and remind them of the desired behavioral outcome; 4) Communication: Regular check-in calls were scheduled on a weekly/monthly basis to enable center managers to stay informed of program status updates and ask relevant questions.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
1) Number of weekly softgood drops
2) Number of weekly freezer door alarms
3) Duration of weekly freezer door alarms
4) Number of contaminants in recycling bins by type
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Outcome variables are collected at both control and treated centers:
1) manually by each center
2) and 3) through sensors
4) through a smart camera snapshots

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Potential secondary outcomes are
1) Amount of greenhouse gas that was saved due to treatment
2) Amount of electricity saved due to treatment
3) Amount of financial burden saved thanks to sustainable behaviors
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
In the context of BioLife, we identified three behaviors that align with the company's sustainability objectives. First, in the plasma collection process, sterile donation materials (referred to as ``softgoods'') must be discarded if they are dropped on the floor. This behavior is preventable, thus, we employ nudging aimed at reducing the number of softgood drops. Secondly, after collection, plasma must be frozen before shipment. During operation, leaving the freezer doors open can increase electricity consumption while decreasing the lifecycle of the vital components in the freezer. We focus on nudging towards keeping the freezer door closed within 50 seconds of opening. Lastly, the inappropriate disposal of recyclable materials, referred to as ``contaminant materials,'' increases landfill waste and hinders BioLife's efforts to meet sustainability goals. Therefore, our intervention aims at reducing the amount of contaminant materials added to the recycling bins so that only materials accepted by the local waste haulers are included.

We launch three treatment arms in waves, with Wave 1 targeting reducing the number of softgood drops, Wave 2 reducing the number and duration of freezer door alarms, and Wave 3 reducing the number of contaminants in recycling dumpsters.

For Waves 2 and 3, we install hardware in freezer doors and recycling bins to collect data in both control and treated centers. We then compare the outcome metrics between the control and treatment groups.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
We randomly assign control and treatment status using Stata.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
161 centers
Sample size: planned number of observations
161 centers for about 26 weeks
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Wave 1: 24 centers in treatment, 87 centers in control
Wave 2: 14 centers in treatment, 5 centers in control
Wave 3: 15 centers in treatment, 16 centers in control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Wave 1: MDE = 2 softgood drops or about 36%. SD = 0.5. Wave 2: MDE = 40 minutes (weekly freezer door alarm duration) or about 42%. SD = 10 minutes. Wave 3: MDE = 1 contaminant or 16%. SD = 0.5.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Committee on the Use of Humans as Experiment Subjects
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
September 30, 2022, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Data Collection Completion Date
September 30, 2022, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
161 centers
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
6456 center-week observations
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials