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Self-Esteem and Demand for Social Image: Evidence from MTurk
Last registered on September 22, 2017


Trial Information
General Information
Self-Esteem and Demand for Social Image: Evidence from MTurk
Initial registration date
September 17, 2016
Last updated
September 22, 2017 10:18 AM EDT
Primary Investigator
University of California, San Diego
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Consumers might choose to purchase certain products to show to others their own economic achievements and thus gain social status. We investigate how self-esteem influences the demand for social status: are self-esteem and social image complements or substitute? We consider high-end brand clothing (Armani), which can be demanded not only for its quality, but also for social image motives. We design an online marketing experiment which has two purposes: first, to temporarily give a boost to the self-esteem of some customers; and second, to elicit preferences between gift cards for high-end brand clothing (Armani) versus a low-end brand clothing (Old Navy) using an incentivized Multiple Price List procedure.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Fiorin, Stefano. 2017. "Self-Esteem and Demand for Social Image: Evidence from MTurk." AEA RCT Registry. September 22. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1588-2.0.
Former Citation
Fiorin, Stefano. 2017. "Self-Esteem and Demand for Social Image: Evidence from MTurk." AEA RCT Registry. September 22. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1588/history/21688.
Experimental Details
We design an online marketing experiment in which we randomize one of the question asked in the survey. First, we ask to all subjects some basic demographic questions. Then, subjects in the control group are asked to name and summarize the story of the most recent movie they have seen, while subjects the self-affirmation treatment group are asked to describe an event in their life that made them feel successful or proud of themselves. According to the literature in psychology, this treatment can (at least temporarily) increase the self-esteem of the customers. We then verify the effect of the treatment on self-esteem by asking next to all subjects to complete the Rosenberg self-esteem questionnaire. Next, we ask all subjects to express their preferences for Armani vs Old Navy gift card using an incentivized multiple price list procedure: the idea is Armani clothing can be considered a status good, while Old Navy clothing can not. Eliting the willingness to pay for the Armani gift card will allow us to understand whether the demand for social status is higher (lower) among customers with higher self-esteem, and thus understand whether self-image and social-image are complements (substitutes). Finally, we ask all subjects to rank values that they consider as being more important to them.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Rosenberg self-esteem score
Willingness to pay for the Armani gift card
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Subjects will be randomly assigned into one of the following groups: (1) control group, (2) self-affirmation treatment group.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
The randomization will be conducted on Qualtrics.
Randomization Unit
We randomized at the level of the individual subject.
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
No clustering.
Sample size: planned number of observations
1000 subjects
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
500 control group, 500 self-affirmation treatment group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
UCLA Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
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Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)