Responsiveness of Public Administration to Behavioral Appeals - Evidence From a Field Experiment in Germany

Last registered on September 27, 2016

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Responsiveness of Public Administration to Behavioral Appeals - Evidence From a Field Experiment in Germany
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0001623
Initial registration date
September 27, 2016

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
September 27, 2016, 10:49 AM EDT

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

Last updated
September 27, 2016, 11:01 AM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Mannheim

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
ZEW Mannheim
PI Affiliation
ZEW Mannheim

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2016-10-03
End date
2017-09-27
Secondary IDs
Abstract
How responsive are public administration institutions to different types of "behavioral" appeals? To study this question, we run a field experiment with public administrations in Germany. We write letters to all local-level tax authorities which include a request by our research institution to share non-confidential data for research purposes. The data-request letters embed a field experiment with four different groups in order to study if public administrations are responsive to some of the most common types of “behavioral” appeals: social norms, shaming and deterrence. In the social norm treatment, we inform tax authorities about the fact that we already received data from a non-negligible number of tax authorities. In the shaming treatment, we inform that the resulting research publication will include information about which tax authorities provided data. In the deterrence treatment, we refer to a public freedom-of- information law in Germany which requires public administrations to share data. A control group receives a neutral letter. This field experiment adds to an understanding if behavioral appeals, that have frequently been shown to be effective with individuals, also affect behavior of administrations and it adds to an understanding of the interaction between citizens and public adminsitrations.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
, , Sebastian Blesse and Philipp Doerrenberg. 2016. "Responsiveness of Public Administration to Behavioral Appeals - Evidence From a Field Experiment in Germany." AEA RCT Registry. September 27. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1623
Former Citation
, , Sebastian Blesse and Philipp Doerrenberg. 2016. "Responsiveness of Public Administration to Behavioral Appeals - Evidence From a Field Experiment in Germany." AEA RCT Registry. September 27. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1623/history/10801
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Letters with different statements: In the social norm treatment, we inform tax authorities about the fact that we already received data from a non-negligible number of tax authorities. In the shaming treatment, we inform that the resulting research publication will include information about which tax authorities provided data. In the deterrence treatment, we refer to a public freedom-of- information law in Germany which requires public administrations to share data. A control group receives a neutral letter.
Intervention Start Date
2016-10-03
Intervention End Date
2016-11-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Responsiveness yes/no, date of responsiveness, data provision yes/no, amount of data provided yes/no
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
see Abstract and Intervention
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Local tax authorities at the city level
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
450 different cities
Sample size: planned number of observations
Some (not all) cities have several tax authorities. All authorities in the same city are in the same treatment group. Number of tax authorities: 615
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Control group: 111 clusters, 163 obs
Shaming: 113 clusters, 144 obs
Social Norms: 113 clusters , 131 obs
Deterrence: 113 clusters, 177 obs
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials