Spatial Identity and Response to Climate Change

Last registered on September 06, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Spatial Identity and Response to Climate Change
Initial registration date
August 24, 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
August 24, 2023, 6:47 AM EDT

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

Last updated
September 06, 2023, 4:31 AM EDT

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


Primary Investigator

Centre for Social and Behaviour Change at Ashoka University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Wisconsin - Madison

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
There is growing literature to suggest that spatial attributes such as geographical location, weather variation, and soil quality, play a role in shaping human behaviour such as preferences on risk and trust preferences. Historical climate variation, specific to certain geographies like coastal areas, can influence the nature of the communities and institutions that develop within them, in particular the formation of cooperative social and political institutions. Building on these assumptions, we attribute to each geography a stock-level of environmental shocks. Such shocks may be both real (e.g. weather hazards) or perceived (e.g. psychological threat from weather hazards). We wish to understand how exposure of individuals and groups living in any given location, subject to environmental shocks, both perceived and real, over a period of time may shape individual and community behaviour. We aim to understand the role of variation in environmental shocks in shaping individual-level preferences, such as trust and risk, and its implications on cooperative behaviours. In addition, trust and risk preferences involve their intergenerational transfer within members of the same group through formal or informal institutions. This may lead individuals to form a unique ‘spatial identity’ which is a composite of risk and trust preferences. We argue that such a spatial identity may influence cooperation outcomes, especially in public goods settings, such as response to climate change. Cooperation outcomes may be linked with underlying social norms which determine the response to collective risks faced. The study aims to understand the role of such a ‘spatial identity’ which leads to climate change adaptation or mitigation. The study is set up as a lab-based experiment with undergraduate university students in coastal universities in Gujarat and Kerala, India.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Agarwal, Aayush and Saksham Singh. 2023. "Spatial Identity and Response to Climate Change." AEA RCT Registry. September 06.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details


The only manipulation in this experiment is the priming of the treatment group to think about their geographical identity.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Cooperation, risk preferences, trust preferences, present bias, child rearing preferences, climate change awareness, psychological distance to hazard
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This is a lab experiment with undergraduate students. Half the sample will be assigned to the treatment group that will receive the geographical identity priming, while the control group will not receive any priming.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Between-subjects randomization will occur. Qualtrics will assign participants who enter the experiment in a balanced and stratified manner (stratified on the basis of gender and other key demographic variables).
Randomization Unit
Individual-level randomization will occur.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Cluster randomization isn't taking place.
Sample size: planned number of observations
500 is the ideal sample size.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
250 individuals per arm.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB at Ashoka University
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