The Value of Social Information in the Workplace: An Online Experiment

Last registered on May 09, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

The Value of Social Information in the Workplace: An Online Experiment
Initial registration date
April 30, 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
May 09, 2024, 2:12 PM EDT

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


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Primary Investigator

Columbia University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
The role of social information in shaping decisions and behaviors is well-documented across many domains. This influence extends to workplace environments, where studies have extensively documented how relative performance feedback affects workers' effort and performance. Notwithstanding, an important question that remains largely underexplored is whether workers actually value such social information and the purposes for which it is used. This study explores the broader welfare implications of social information in workplace settings, focusing particularly on whether workers value this information for its instrumental value, how it affects morale by fostering competition, or how it gives rise to fairness concerns.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Lim, Zhi Hao. 2024. "The Value of Social Information in the Workplace: An Online Experiment." AEA RCT Registry. May 09.
Experimental Details


We will run an online experiment with participants recruited from Prolific, who will be randomly assigned to receive social information about performance in a real-effort task.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Performance in the real-effort task, willingness-to-pay for social information that is provided either ex-ante or ex-post, and cognitive uncertainty regarding effort choice
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Participants are recruited on Prolific as "workers" to perform a real-effort task. The task involves counting the number of zeros in a row of randomly-ordered zeros and ones, as adapted from Abeler et al. (2011). They are told that they will be paid a piece-rate for performing the task and the work period would last up to 5 minutes. Based on their willingness-to-pay for social information, they will be randomly assigned to receive information about performance in the real-effort task. Participants have to complete a second round of the same task and answer a series of questions. There is no deception at any point in the study.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization by a computer. The program is implemented using oTree.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
We aim to recruit 700 participants on Prolific. Participants must take the study using a laptop or personal computer. We restrict to participants who (i) reside in the US, (ii) have completed at least 100 prior studies, and (iii) have an approval rating of at least 95 percent.
Sample size: planned number of observations
Same as above.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Participants are randomized to either receive or not receive social information, that is to be provided ex-ante or ex-post. This will be determined by their WTP for social information using the incentive-compatible BDM mechanism.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Columbia University Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number