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How do unions solve their collective action problem?
Last registered on June 30, 2016

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
How do unions solve their collective action problem?
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0001386
Initial registration date
June 30, 2016
Last updated
June 30, 2016 6:54 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Columbia University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
HBS
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2016-05-26
End date
2016-08-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We are using large administrative data sets and randomized experiments to understand and improve outcomes in private sector unions. We randomize postcards sent to union members following a successful campaign. Treatment postcards invite them to participate in a membership meeting and contain information about past participation in union activities of their co-workers, co-union members, or themselves. We also randomize the fraction of coworkers of a particular shop that receive the treatment to estimate spillovers. We use administrative data from the union to measure participation in the membership meeting on June 22nd, participation in future events, contribution to the union political action fund, and eventual retention.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Naidu, Suresh and Vincent Pons. 2016. "How do unions solve their collective action problem?." AEA RCT Registry. June 30. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1386-1.0.
Former Citation
Naidu, Suresh and Vincent Pons. 2016. "How do unions solve their collective action problem?." AEA RCT Registry. June 30. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1386/history/9184.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We randomize postcards sent to union members following a successful campaign. Treatment postcards invite them to participate in a membership meeting and contain information about past participation in union activities of their co-workers, co-union members, and themselves.
Intervention Start Date
2016-05-26
Intervention End Date
2016-06-22
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Participation in the membership meeting on June 22nd, participation in future events, contribution to the union political action fund, and eventual retention.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Our design includes three experiments conducted on three different subpopulations (defined by prior participation of self and shop). In each experiment, any member can be allocated to one of three possible treatment conditions. Treatment postcards invite members to participate in a membership meeting and contain information about past participation in union activities of their co-workers, co-union members, or themselves. Randomization is conducted at two different levels. Treatment condition is randomly assigned at the individual level, but the fraction of coworkers that receive any particular treatment is determined at the shop level, to estimate within-firm spillovers.
Experimental Design Details
Our design includes three experiments conducted on three different subpopulations. * Experiment A: on union members who participated in at least one activity during the campaign * Experiment B: on union members who did not participate in any activity, but have at least one coworker who did * Experiment C: on union members who did not participate in any activity, and who do not have any coworker who did In each experiment, any member can be allocated to one of three possible treatment conditions, determining the type of mailer that they receive. * Condition 0 (placebo group): plain mailer * Condition 1: invitation to the June 22nd Membership meeting * Condition 2: invitation to the June 22nd Membership meeting ; and thanks for past participation of the individual (in Experiment A) / of coworkers working for same employer (in Experiment B ) / of other workers in the union (in Experiment C) In Experiment A, randomization was done at the individual level: * 1/3 members receive T0 * 1/3 members receive T1 * 1/3 members receive T2 In Experiments B and C, randomization was done at the shop level and then the individual level: * 1/6 shops in which all members receive T0 * 1/2 shops in which 1/3 members receive T0, 1/3 T1, and 1/3 T2 * 1/3 shops in which 1/2 members receive T1 and 1/2 T2
Randomization Method
Randomization done by the researchers in office by a computer, with Stata.
Randomization Unit
Individual and shop.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Experiment A: 1,998 members
Experiment B: 2,071 shops
Experiment C: 4,288 shops
Sample size: planned number of observations
Experiment A: 1998 members; B: 37,663 members; C: 29,209 members. Total: 68,870 members
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
In Experiment A, randomization was done at the individual level:
* 1/3 members (666 members) receive T0
* 1/3 members (666 members) receive T1
* 1/3 members (666 members) receive T2

In Experiment B, randomization was done at the shop level and then the individual level:
* 1/6 shops (345 shops) in which all members (6,281 members) receive T0
* 1/2 shops (1,035 shops) in which 1/3 members receive T0 (6,240 members), 1/3 T1 (6,239 members), and 1/3 T2 (6,240 members)
* 1/3 shops (691 shops) in which 1/2 members receive T1 (6,332 members) and 1/2 T2 (6,331 members)

In Experiment C, randomization was done at the shop level and then the individual level:
* 1/6 shops (714 shops) in which all members (4,951 members) receive T0
* 1/2 shops (2,145 shops) in which 1/3 members receive T0 (4,822 members), 1/3 T1 (4,821 members), and 1/3 T2 (4,822 members)
* 1/3 shops (1,429 shops) in which 1/2 members receive T1 (4,897 members) and 1/2 T2 (4,896 members)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Columbia IRB
IRB Approval Date
2016-06-23
IRB Approval Number
AAAQ9111
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