Unequal pay, fairness concerns, and effort choice
Last registered on October 20, 2016

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Unequal pay, fairness concerns, and effort choice
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0001691
Initial registration date
October 20, 2016
Last updated
October 20, 2016 12:17 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Goethe University Frankfurt
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Lingnan University
PI Affiliation
Lingnan University and University of Birmingham
PI Affiliation
Lingnan University
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2016-10-01
End date
2017-01-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Will learning that someone else receives a higher pay for the same work have an effect on one's effort? Does the magnitude of this effect depend on one's fairness perceptions? To address these two questions, we will run a field experiment in which different participants will do the same data entry work for different pay rates - high and low. There will be three conditions. In the first, the participants will receive the high rate and will not know that others receive the low rate. In the second, the participants will receive the low rate without knowing of the high rate. In the third condition, the participants will receive the low rate but will learn of others receiving the high rate in a controlled way. We will measure the participants' fairness perceptions before they start working, and survey them some time after the end of the experiment, to learn more about their reactions to pay rate differences and their beliefs as to the reasons behind them. The findings from our experiment will be of interest to the literature on the effects of social comparisons.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Wei, Xiangdong et al. 2016. "Unequal pay, fairness concerns, and effort choice." AEA RCT Registry. October 20. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1691/history/11367
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
There will be three experimental conditions. In the first, the participants will receive the high rate and will not know that others receive the low rate. In the second, the participants will receive the low rate without knowing of the high rate. In the third condition, the participants will receive the low rate but will learn of others receiving the high rate in a controlled way.
Intervention Start Date
2016-10-22
Intervention End Date
2016-10-30
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
We will measure two outcomes: 1) the average length of time it takes to enter one data point; and 2) the share of correct entries
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The participants will do data entry work (digitizing paper questionnaires) in groups of three or four in rooms equipped with computers. Each working session will last approximately three hours, divided into three parts: preparation, working period 1, and working period 2. We will pay the participants for three hours of work at the beginning of their session. Our intervention will take place during a short break between working periods 1 and 2. The intervention will be administered through our assistants who will bring pay slips to be signed by the participants. The participants in conditions 1 and 2 will see only their pay rates on the slip, whereas those in condition 3 will also see the rate paid to the participants in condition 1 (without personal details).
Experimental Design Details
We anticipate that the participants may share their pay information with others. To control for this, we have scheduled the condition 2 sessions first, followed by conditions 3 and 1. Ideally, we would like all conditions to be run in parallel, but we are facing a constraint on the number of available rooms.
Randomization Method
Stratified computer-aided randomization based on the participants' characteristics known before the experiment: age, gender, and study major.
Randomization Unit
A three-hour working session
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
We have booked 12 rooms for four days, three working sessions each day. So we have a total of 12*4*3=144 working sessions
Sample size: planned number of observations
528 participants
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
6 working sessions for condition 1, 90 for condition 2, 48 for condition 3
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
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