Do markets blunt identity?

Last registered on May 13, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Do markets blunt identity?
Initial registration date
May 02, 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 13, 2024, 11:52 AM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

Monash University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Monash University
PI Affiliation
Monash 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.
We conduct an online experiment designed to evaluate the impact of historical exposure to well-integrated grain markets on the importance of identity in shaping behaviour in two incentivised games. Data comes from 900 participants born in two groups of prefectures in Fujian (southeast China) that differ in levels of historical market integration (high vs low) but are otherwise similar (similar history, ethnicity, religion, and national government). Group identities are experimentally primed using both artificial minimal-group (meaningless symbols) and natural groups (language), with 1/3 of the participants allocated to a control group (No Group Identity). After being primed with one of these identities and randomly matched with anonymous partners, participants play both the Trust and Money Burning games.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Huang, An, Paulo Santos and Russell Smyth. 2024. "Do markets blunt identity?." AEA RCT Registry. May 13.
Experimental Details


Participants are recruited to participate in an online experiment in sets of prefectures in Fujian Province (SE China). These regions differ in their history of market integration. Participants play two standard games (Trust Game and Money Burning Game) after being randomly allocated to one of three conditions: primed to think about their membership in a natural group (language), primed to think about their membership in a minimal group (symbols) and not primed to think about their identity. Participants are then randomly matched with others who share the same or different group membership.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Decisions in the Trust Game (amount sent as initiator and as recipient) and the Money Burning Game (money burned), in two situations: when partner's identity is the same as the participant and when it is different.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Taking advantage of random allocation of the identity of the match, the comparison between participants who are randomly primed to think about their identity (language group or artificial group) and those who are not (no identity) allows us to decompose average differences in decisions in both games into estimates of the importance of in-group bias or out-group bias. As a secondary outcome, we also include survey questions about characteristics of (un)desired neighbors, identical to questions used in the World Values Survey. We sum the number of identity groups that are not desired as neighbors (other race, other religion, migrants, speak other language, homosexuals) as an overall measure of prejudice.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The total number of participants is equally split between the two groups of prefectures, that also share the structure of experimental session (N=2 x 450 participants). Within each prefecture group, participants are randomly allocated to one of three situations: priming of minimal identity, priming of natural identity and no priming of identity.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done at time of participation in online experiment by a computer
Randomization Unit
Individual level
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
900 participants, over 18 years old, born and living in one of 5 prefectures in Fujian, who also speak a local dialect.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Outcomes are measured in Yuan. Trust Game – Amount sent (sender): MDES = 0.239 Trust Game – Amount sent (receiver): MDES = 0.546 Money Burning Game – Amount burned: MDES = 0.286 Prejudice (survey measure): MDES = 0.107
Supporting Documents and Materials

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Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Monash University Human Ethics Committee
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