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A Lab-in-the-field experiment on Community Decision-Making in Bangladesh
Last registered on April 21, 2018


Trial Information
General Information
A Lab-in-the-field experiment on Community Decision-Making in Bangladesh
Initial registration date
November 27, 2016
Last updated
April 21, 2018 6:31 AM EDT
Primary Investigator
LEAP, Bocconi University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
IIES, Stockholm University
Additional Trial Information
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
We propose to analyse the impact of a Community Driven Development program on social preferences, specifi cally on attitudes towards inequality and inequity and preferences for participatory decision-making. We exploit the implementation of a randomized control trial which offers to rural Bangladeshi communities the opportunity to build a public source of safe water and requires them to take collective decisions within a public consultation process over key features of the project. We designed an innovative lab-in-the- eld experiment in order to elicit preferences toward redistribution and participation. Players participate to face-to-face group discussions to decide how to allocate a common endowment among themselves, with and without the requirement of contributing to its creation. In a subsequent stage of the experiment, we measure individual willingness to pay for participatory decision-making. Our findings will inform on the impact of CDD programs on social norms and preferences in receiving communities, a crucial feature to account for when assessing the long term impact of participatory development.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Cocciolo, Serena and Selene Ghisolfi. 2018. "A Lab-in-the-field experiment on Community Decision-Making in Bangladesh." AEA RCT Registry. April 21. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1809-9.0.
Former Citation
Cocciolo, Serena, Selene Ghisolfi and Selene Ghisolfi. 2018. "A Lab-in-the-field experiment on Community Decision-Making in Bangladesh." AEA RCT Registry. April 21. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1809/history/28600.
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Experimental Details

We evaluate the impact on social preferences of an arsenic mitigation program conducted in rural Bangladesh by Tompsett et al. (2016). The program consists in a package of technical advice and subsidies for the installation of safe sources of drinking water. We exploit the random assignment of villages to the treatment or control group.

The key decisions to be taken in relation to the program are: (i) how many water sources to install in the village; (ii) where to construct them; (iii) how to divide the required contributions between households; (iv) the household responsible for the management and maintenance of each new water source. Communities take all decisions at a meeting organized by project staff. Our field supervisors play a strong facilitatory role, both before and during the community meeting. We organize information meetings with men and women separately, increasing awareness on water safety issues and stressing the importance that everyone takes part to the community meeting. We impose minimum participation requirement in order to start the community meeting, and require that all decisions are taken by unanimous consensus, during the meeting in the presence of project staff. The rules and procedures imposed on the decision-making process are designed to reduce the likelihood that influential groups or individuals could co-opt the decision-making process, and ensure that everyone is guaranteed the right to express his/her voice.

This decision-making process is new in the context of rural Bangladesh, where village meetings are rare and typically attended only by elites or influential individuals, and women rarely play an active role in the public sphere.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Willingness to pay for participatory decision making.

Individual preferences toward equality, equity, and their aggregation with bargaining.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The session is divided in 5 main parts:
a. Task 1;
b. Participation decision in relation to Task 1;
c. Task 2;
d. Participation decision in relation to Task 2;
e. Task 3 according to the decision taken in part b and d.

We randomize within each village the groups for which we will record the audio throughout the experimental session.


During Task 1, Task 2 and Task 3, 42 participants are divided in groups of three and have to complete a group task. Groups are pre-formed, and are different for each task. For part b and d of the experimental session, we pre-select one person per group (groups as in Task 3).

Players complete each part of the experimental session using tokens. Before Task 1, Task 2 and Task 3 we assign to each participant an initial individual endowment. Within each community, we randomly pre-assign players to the equality/inequality treatment:
Equality: before each task, participants receive an initial endowment of 10 tokens.
Inequality: before each task, participants in each group randomly receive initial endowments of 15, 10 token or 5 tokens.

During Task 1 and Task 2, groups have to complete two group face-to-face decision-making exercises, the ``Contribution game'' and the ``Redistribution game''. The face-to-face design allows to mimic a real-life collective decision-making process, where people from the same village know each other before and will meet each other after the bargaining process.

During the ``Redistribution game'', after receiving their individual endowment, participants negotiate on how to redistribute among themselves a group endowment of 30 tokens.

In the ``Contribution game'', participants decide how much of their initial endowment to contribute for the creation of a common pool of resources, equivalent to twice the sum of the contributions, and simultaneously negotiate on how to split it.

In both games we require group decisions to be taken by unanimous consensus: everyone in the group must agree on how to redistribute the group resources (and on the contribution array, in the ``Contribution game''). Groups have 20 minutes to reach an agreement. In case the group fail to agree, players are only entitled to keep their initial endowment. The maximum possible winning is be the same in the two games.

Participants play one training round of the ``Contribution game'' and the ``Redistribution game'', and one round with real money at stake.

We randomize across villages the order in which the ``Contribution game'' and the ``Redistribution game'' are played.


After Task 1(2), we conduct an elicitation procedure in order to measure willingness to pay for participatory-decision making. We conduct this part of the experimental session with only 1/3 of participants, one player per group (groups as in Task 3), assisted by one enumerator.

First we assign to these players their initial individual endowment for Task 3. We explain to these players that during Task 3 they might play again Task 1(2), with a new group. During part 2(4) of the experiment they can decide how they want that their group will take decisions. The first option is to take part again in the bargaining stage as in the previous round. The other option is to not participate in the decision and receive a given distribution of tokens. In this latter case we assign to the group the agreement taken by another randomly extracted group with the same equality/inequality treatment during Task 1(2). Each person in the group will receive the final number of tokens obtained by the person in the assigned group with the same initial individual endowment.

We measure individual willingness to pay for participatory decision-making adopting a progressive binding auction design. We start by presenting participants a hypothetical choice between ``participatory decision-making'' and ``assigned distribution'' with zero price. In case the first choice is ``participatory decision-making''(``assigned distribution''), we present the following scenarios with progressively increasing(decreasing) price until participants switch from ``participatory decision-making''(``assigned distribution'') to assigned ``assigned distribution''(``participatory decision-making''). We allow positive and negative prices attached to the participatory option ranging from -5 tokens to +5 tokens. We define individual WTP as the highest price attached to the participatory option at which the participant does not choose the ``assigned distribution'' option.

After eliciting the WTP for participatory decision-making for Task 1(2), we elicit players' beliefs on their expected outcomes under the two decision-rules relative to Task 1(2). We incentivize their choices by awarding a small prize if their guess under the ``assigned distribution'' option is correct. The beliefs elicitation is not incentivized for the ``participatory decision-making'' option, as it would distort group dynamics in the third round.

The decision rule for Task 3 is determined by extracting the game (``Contribution game'' or ``Redistribution game'') and one price between -5 tokens and +5 tokens. Players in part 2(4) with a WTP equal or higher than the extracted price complete Task 3 together with their assigned group peers, and pays/receives the extracted price. Players in part 2(4) with a WTP lower than the extracted price, as well as their assigned group peers, receive an ``assigned distribution'' by randomly extracting one group (excluding their own) within the same equality/inequality treatment.


Three men and three women from different households will be recruited in each village to play the spectator game. They will be seating in groups together and will play the Tasks as the other players, so to understand the rules of the games. It will be made clear for them however that the final payment will not depend from the distribution of outcomes resulting from the game but from the decision of a third party (a spectator in the other group). Their level of contributions will however be taken into account for the final outcome. For this reason, they will play two trial rounds per each game, one under equality of initial endowments, one under inequality.

The players will then be seated all separately and will have to answer a series of questions. They will be told that only two scenarios among the following their decision are going to have consequences for the group, and that also in that case there is only a 1/3 chance that the group outcome will depend on their decision. They will not be told that the group they are deciding the outcome for is the other group of spectators.


At the end of the experimental session, we reward participants with a fixed show-up fee of 30 Bangladeshi Takas (1 BDT = 0.013 USD) and a bonus equal to the sum of their outcomes from all rounds with real money at stake, including the small prize of 30 BDT for correct beliefs on outcomes under the ``assigned distribution'' option. We convert 1 token in 5 BDT. Participants can expect a total reward between 150 BDT and 400 BDT.

Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method

The original arsenic mitigation program was randomized at the Treatment Unit level, with a public lottery held with villages and union (district) rapresentatives. The program was randomized within each union (district).


We randomize in office by a computer most of the experimental treatments at the individual/group level:
- selection of households for the experimental sessions;
- assignment of players to the bargaining game or spectator game;
- assignment of players to the Participation game;
- extraction of one scenario (game and price) to be implemented for Task 3;
- assignment of players to the equality or inequality treatment;
- assignment of enumerators to groups/players;
- assignment of groups to the audio recording.

We randomize with lotteries during the experimental session:
- the initial individual endowments for the Contribution game and the Redistribution game- the lottery is performed with the three players in the same group;
- the initial individual endowment for players selected in the Participation game - the lottery is performed only with the player in the Participation game, each group separately;
- the initial individual endowments for players completing Task 3 - the lottery is performed in front of all players in the same group, each group separately; the lottery is performed only for the two players not in the Participation game;
- the group to define the final outcome from Task 3 for groups that do not enter the group discussion stage for Task 3 - the lottery is performend only with players in the Participation game, each player separately.
These lotteries are performed by the enumerators and the results are known to them.
Randomization Unit

Treatment unit level.
Treatment Units are defined as follows:
- Treatment Units correspond to villages, as from administrative boundaries, if the village size is less or equal than 250 households;
- we divide larger villages in smaller Treatment Units along geographic and socio-economic clusters.


Individual level
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
92 Treatment Units
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
35 control Treatment Units

19 treated Treatment Units, arsenic mitigation program without contributions;

19 treated Treatment Units, arsenic mitigation program with cash contributions;

19 treated Treatment Units, arsenic mitigation program with labour contributions.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Estimating an intra-cluster correlation of 10% (upper bound from pilot), minimum detectable effect size is 20% of standard deviation of main outcomes.
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan
Analysis Plan Documents
Analysis Plan

MD5: 5ec8972fc91e3e9c7d56015f127be5b8

SHA1: a899a93698dc091d9266384b4e43bda763bbe032

Uploaded At: May 17, 2017

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Program Files
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Reports, Papers & Other Materials
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