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How Does Economic Status Affect Social Preferences?
Last registered on June 24, 2016

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
How Does Economic Status Affect Social Preferences?
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0001369
Initial registration date
June 23, 2016
Last updated
June 24, 2016 4:16 AM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of Oxford
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Oxford
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2016-06-29
End date
2016-07-09
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This paper investigates the impact of economic status on social preferences. We exogenously alter people's perceived economic status by changing where they think their household stands in the US income distribution. Half of the people who over-estimated their position in the income distribution are told that they are relatively poorer than they thought. Conversely, half of those who under-estimated their position in the income distribution are informed that they are relatively richer than they thought. Then, participants play a series of four incentivized games, which measure different social preferences, such as trust, negative reciprocity, honesty and pro-sociality. This document outlines the analysis plan for this experiment.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Grigorieff, Alexis and Christopher Roth. 2016. "How Does Economic Status Affect Social Preferences?." AEA RCT Registry. June 24. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1369-2.0.
Former Citation
Grigorieff, Alexis and Christopher Roth. 2016. "How Does Economic Status Affect Social Preferences?." AEA RCT Registry. June 24. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1369/history/9010.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2016-06-29
Intervention End Date
2016-06-30
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Coinflip Game: number of "Heads" reported.
Trust Game: amount sent by person A to person B.
Trust Game (Belief): The respondent's belief about how much money the other participant will send back.
Ultimatum Game: minimum amount required by person 2 to accept person 1's offer.
Dictator Game: amount given by person C to person D.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The participants are first asked how much each member of their household earned in 2015. Based on this information, we calculate their household income for 2014, and show participants how much it adds up to. We then ask them where they think their household stood in the income distribution. The exact question they answered was: "“According to the 2015 American Population Survey, what percentage of US
households earned less than your household?" If participants correctly guess the percentage (within three percentage points), they receive a bonus payment of 10 cents.

Using Census data on the US household income distribution, we can determine whether participants accurately evaluated their position in the income distribution. This allows us to give participants in the treatment group some information on their actual standing in the income distribution. Subjects in the control group, on the other hand, do not receive any information.

We divide participants into two groups: those who over-estimate their position in the income distribution, and those who under-estimate it. We expect that very few people will guess their exact position in the income distribution, and we therefore discard those observations completely. For clarity's sake, we call participants who over-estimate their position in the income distribution over-estimators, and participants who under-estimate their position under-estimators. This terminology will be used in the rest of the paper.


Half of the over-estimators do not receive any information about the accuracy of their estimate, while the other half receive the following message:

Actually, you overestimated your relative position in the income distribution. In reality, you are relatively poorer than you thought. In other words, you are closer to the bottom of the income distribution than you thought. You currently earn significantly less than what you would need to be at the position you thought you occupied.

Similarly, half of the under-estimators do not receive any information about the accuracy of their estimate, while the other half receive the following message:

Actually, you underestimated your relative position in the income distribution. In reality, you are relatively richer than you thought. In other words, you are closer to the top of the income distribution than you thought. You currently earn significantly more than what you would need to be at the position you thought you occupied.


All participants are then asked how satisfied they are with their position in the income distribution. This question allow us to check, separately for over-estimators and under-estimators, whether the treatment has any effect on the participants' economic satisfaction. We also ask participants in the treatment group to give us a new estimate of their position in the income distribution, now that they have received some information about the accuracy of their estimate. This question enables us to see to what extent participants updated their beliefs regarding their position in the income distribution, after receiving the treatment. All these questions are used as manipulation checks in the analysis, to make sure that our information treatment changed people's perception of their relative income.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
1300 individuals.
Sample size: planned number of observations
1300 individuals.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
650 individuals will get feedback on their relative income.
650 individuals will not get any feedback on their relative income.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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Request Information
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
CUREC, Oxford
IRB Approval Date
2016-03-30
IRB Approval Number
NA
Analysis Plan
Analysis Plan Documents
Economics Status and Social Preferences - PAP

MD5: 51617ac8ed6a9f8a56b3047384b153f4

SHA1: ddb77e57621fe26fda2bad516376e2734361dbf1

Uploaded At: June 23, 2016

Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers