Individual determinants of rule following

Last registered on April 02, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Individual determinants of rule following
Initial registration date
March 25, 2024

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
April 02, 2024, 10:53 AM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

JMU Würzburg

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Nottingham
PI Affiliation
University of Bonn

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial is based on or builds upon one or more prior RCTs.
People conform with rules, as laws and social norms, at varying degrees. In this study, we investigate what determines these heterogeneous behaviors. Based on an established paradigm to measure of rule following, we explore socio-economic correlates and further explore the causal effect of the social environment by randomly enrolling children in a year-long mentoring program.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Falk, Armin, Simon Gächter and Fabian Kosse. 2024. "Individual determinants of rule following." AEA RCT Registry. April 02.
Experimental Details


The intervention program is based on the concept of “informal learning”, i.e., it integrates learning processes into everyday activities and does not directly focus on academic achievements. The idea is to widen a child’s horizon through social interactions with a new attachment person.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Behavior in the traffic light paradigm: Binary (following vs. violating the norm) and waiting time in seconds
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Beliefs about appropriateness of rule violation and the behavior of others
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We recruited participants and their parents from the two cities Cologne and Bonn in Germany. In 2011, we invited all families living in those cities with children born between September 2003 and August 2004 to participate in a mentoring program, as well as one third of families with children born between September 2002 and August 2003 (N=14,451). We truthfully informed parents that, due to capacity constraints, participation in the program was not guaranteed. 1626 families indicated a willingness to participate and answered a short questionnaire including questions on income, education and whether both parents lived in the same household. We focus on those children whose parents met at least one of the following three criteria: (i) Equivalence income of the household is lower than 1065 Euro, corresponding to the 30th percentile of the German income distribution. (ii) Neither parent has a school-leaving degree qualifying for university studies. (iii) Parents do not live in the same household. We invited these children (N=700) and their parents for a baseline interview conducted in September to October 2011. 590 children and their parents participated in the baseline interview and gave their written consent to allow the transmission of their address to the organization running the mentoring program. This is our main sample. Out of this sample, 212 families were randomly selected to be treated (“treatment group”), the remaining 378 families form the control group.

We also recruited a high socio-economic status (SES) comparison group from the children whose parents did not meet either of the three criteria listed above (N=150 invited, N=122 participated in the baseline interview and gave written consent).
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer using STATA.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
590 individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
590 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
212 children were randomly selected to be treated (“treatment group”), the remaining 378 children form the control group.
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
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