Experimental Design Details
In wave 1, subjects are recruited using MTurk. They are asked to complete 2 tasks. In one they must guess the result of 10 coin tosses. In the second they are asked to complete a 10-questions Raven visual IQ test. We record their performance in the 2 tasks enabling us to allocate some of them as "advisors" for wave 2. We collect data on their experiences (for instance, on the perceived difficulty of the tasks). We record the distribution of answers so we can choose the advisors to be better than the bulk of other subjects in wave 2.
In wave 2, subjects (different subjects, but again recruited through MTurk) take the 2 tasks (which are exactly the same as in wave 1). This time, after taking the tasks, they are offered the chance to switch their own answers for those of an "advisor" determined from wave 1. They are told that they can win a bonus if one of their answers (selected at random) proves to be correct. When making this choice, they are also told: (1) their own success rate; (2) the advisor's success rate; and (3) how the advisor was remunerated. Next the subjects are split into 3 treatments:
(A) In one treatment the advisor receives a bonus payment of the same level as the subjects.
(B) In another they received a larger bonus. Subjects are told that the advisor saw the same instructions as they did, hence the advisor did not know the size of the bonus before completing the tasks and so would not have influenced the advisor's behavior more than it did their own.
(C) A third involves a bonus that is only awarded if the subject explicitly follows the advice, allowing the subject to directly influence the remuneration of the advisor.
All subjects then complete a demographic survey and a psychological test designed to elicit an index of envy (using the Dispositional Envy Scale - Smith, R. H., Parrott, W. G., Diener, E. F., Hoyle, R. H., & Kim, S. H., 1999) and similar tests of stubbornness, both generally and in relation to the sunk-cost fallacy, drawn from various sources in social science.