When norms are broken: the effect of preselecting distribution rules on bargaining outcomes

Last registered on November 15, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

When norms are broken: the effect of preselecting distribution rules on bargaining outcomes
Initial registration date
November 06, 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
November 15, 2023, 4:06 PM EST

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



Primary Investigator

Graduate School of Economics, Waseda University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Faculty of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University
PI Affiliation
Graduate School of Economics, Waseda University

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
From existing literature, we assume that when participants choose to follow the distribution rules in a bargaining problem, the rules represent their norms and entitlements. At the beginning of the experiment, participants will be asked to select their preferred distribution among three rules: equal division (the two bargainers share the total pie equally), equal surplus (the bargainers share equally the surplus, the difference between the total pie and their disagreement payoffs) and proportional distribution (the bargainers get a part of the pie proportional to their disagreement payoffs). The disagreement payoffs are determined by their performance in a real-effort task. We then have 3 scenarios: (1) when the bargainers choose the same distribution rule and both agree to follow it, subjects will automatically earn according to the rule, (2) when the bargainers choose the same distribution rule but did not agree to follow it, a bargaining stage will proceed, and (3) when the bargainers choose different distribution rules, a bargaining stage will also proceed. Scenario (2) is our next focus, as we will examine when this rule switching occurs. Lastly, during bargaining, we will also analyze proposals and agreement rates. We will investigate these research topics in a Nash demand game and an unstructured bargaining game.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Jiang, Linjia, Yoshio Kamijo and Tuan Vinh Pham. 2023. "When norms are broken: the effect of preselecting distribution rules on bargaining outcomes." AEA RCT Registry. November 15. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.12394-1.0
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
- Selection rates of the three distribution rules
- Conditions that triggers bargaining (when subjects choose the same rules)
- Bargaining outcomes
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
- Selection rates of the three distribution rules: among the three rules, equal division, equal surplus and proportional distribution, what is the choice frequency for each rule?
- Conditions that triggers bargaining (when subjects choose the same rules): total pie size, existence of the chatbox in the Nash demand game, any specific type of rule selection (for example, a proportional rule would result in large inequality)
- Bargaining outcomes in bargaining: when subjects disagree on the distribution rule, what type of allocations (equal division, equal surplus, proportional distribution, or others) prevail at the end of bargaining

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
How experience (the round within the experiment) and subjects' risk tolerance affect bargaining behaviors
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
- The experiment will consist of three stages.
- The first stage is to select a preferred distribution rule among three rules.
- The second stage requires subjects to complete a real-effort task (the slider test).
- The third stage is divided into four parts. First, subjects will see the bargaining conditions, containing their results of the real-effort tasks, disagreement payoffs and the pie size. Second, each subject sees the rules chosen by the matched participant. Third, if both subjects in the same pair choose the same rule, they will decide if they want to follow the rule or not. If they choose to follow the rule, the payoff will be automatically determined based on the distribution rule. If they choose not to follow the rule, they will continue to the negotiation part. On the other hand, if both subjects choose different rules, they will continue to the negotiation part directly. Fourth, the paired subjects will bargain with each other based on either a Nash demand game or unstructured bargaining. Depending on the treatment, the bargainers can communicate with each other (via a chatbox) during negotiation.
- The three treatments are: (1) Nash bargaining game without communication, (2) Nash bargaining game with communication, and (3) unstructured bargaining with communication
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization by computer will determine pairing.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
144 individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
1152 (8 per subject)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
48 per treatment
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

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Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials