General Training and Reciprocity

Last registered on December 01, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

General Training and Reciprocity
Initial registration date
November 17, 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
December 01, 2023, 4:47 AM EST

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


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Primary Investigator

Southwestern University of Finance and Economics

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Southwestern University of Finance and Economics
PI Affiliation
Southwestern University of Finance and Economics

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.
In this experimental study, we examine the role of worker reciprocity—the tendency to reward kindness and punish unkindness—as a driving factor behind firms' investment in general training that benefits not only themselves but also other firms in the industry. Specifically, the experiment is designed to disentangle the effects of intention-based reciprocity from those of distributional preferences in explaining this behavior. We employ a two-by-two design to investigate workers' responses to both intentional and randomly assigned training levels, assessing the impact of intention-based reciprocity. Simultaneously, the design varies to allow for either positive or negative reciprocation towards the employer through unobservable efforts.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Choo, Lawrence, Senran Lin and Liangfo Zhao. 2023. "General Training and Reciprocity." AEA RCT Registry. December 01.
Experimental Details


We will have 4 treatments in a two-by-two design:
Positive-Exogenous, Negative-Exogenous, Positive-Endogenous, Negative-Endogenous

Endogenous (Exogenous) refers to whether the the training level is determined by Employers (randomized device)
Positive (Negative) refers to whether the worker's unobservable effort benefits (harms) Employer
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
We will collect the following data from each treatment:
Number of real-effort task completions by Workers.
Training level and wage decisions made by Employers.
Effort contribution and Minimum-Acceptable-Wage (MAW) decisions from Workers.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Effort contribution is measured by the number of real-effort task tables that Workers are willing to complete to benefit or harm Employers. Both the effort contributions and the Minimum-Acceptable-Wage (MAW) decisions are recorded across each of the five training levels.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Our study incorporates several phases, beginning with a practice session for Real Effort Tasks and a characteristic-based questionnaire to match subjects. The core of the experiment involves subjects assuming 'Employer' and 'Worker' roles, where each subject engages in a full strategy method, making decisions both as an Employer and as a Worker before knowing their actual role. In this phase, Employers invest in training at various levels, each associated with a specific cost, and simultaneously propose new wages. Correspondingly, Workers make unobservable efforts that influence Employer profits based on different training levels. They also determine their minimum acceptable wage for each training level, which affects the income of both parties.

Once roles are assigned, Workers proceed to the real-effort tasks phase. The experiment concludes with a post-experiment survey designed to assess participants' social value orientation and their inclination towards positive or negative reciprocity

Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization in our experiment is conducted in the lab using a computer.
Subjects are randomly assigned to treatments by computer.
Within a treatment, the role of each subject (either Employer or Worker) is randomly determined by the computer.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
240 observations, corresponding to the 240 university students participating in the study
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Planned Number of Participants: 240 university students, with 60 participants allocated to each of the four treatments
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials


Document Name
IRB application
Document Type
Document Description
IRB application

MD5: 4052a1790747fd4e4f84a783c51f5b3a

SHA1: e40ace9f054fbcacd6190afecc0dfacbec8cd2e1

Uploaded At: November 16, 2023


Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
The Research ethics committee of the China Center for Behavioral Economics and Finance (CCBEF)
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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