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Groups and Socially Responsible Production
Last registered on July 12, 2017

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Groups and Socially Responsible Production
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002226
Initial registration date
July 05, 2017
Last updated
July 12, 2017 7:48 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
The Pennsylvania State University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2017-07-17
End date
2018-09-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
With a framed-field experiment (FFE) with around 150 farmers in Italy, associates of the Confederazione Italiana Agricoltori (CIA), I focus on Socially Responsible production decisions. Producers often take decisions in teams (the administration board) and their decisions impact on multiple stakeholders; these features might impact on the Social Responsibility of producers. With a 2x2 design, I aim at separating two factors affecting Social Responsibility of groups: payoff commonality and joint decision-making. I vary the number of decision makers (individual decision or majority decision in a group of 3) and the number of subject's affected by the decision (determine own profit or 3 people profit). If people bear a cost when acting "unethically", acting in a group will allow subjects to share the responsibility for their action, diminishing the cost and increasing the number of "brown" (not socially responsible) actions. When acting in the interest of a group, having to care about stakeholders’ profits might write off the guilt from, and hence increase, "brown" behaviours.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Vecchi, Martina. 2017. "Groups and Socially Responsible Production." AEA RCT Registry. July 12. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2226-1.0.
Former Citation
Vecchi, Martina. 2017. "Groups and Socially Responsible Production." AEA RCT Registry. July 12. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2226/history/19360.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2017-07-17
Intervention End Date
2018-01-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Average Amount of Money at Which Subjects Decide to Buy Unethical and Take the Payment for Themselves
Average Amount of Money at Which Subjects Decide to Take the Payment for Themselves
Company's characteristics (size, decision-making structure, profits, use/production of ethical products)
Assessment of the moral dimension of different choices in the experiment
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
- Average Amount of Money at Which Subjects Decide to Buy Unethical and Take the Payment : The average profit where producers decide to stop buying ethical product and buy the unethical one (that gives them profits). I will compare this measure across treatments.
- Average Amount of Money at Which Subjects Decide to Take the Payment for Themselves: average profit where producers decide to stop donating to the ONG ASeS and start taking profits to themselves. I will then correlate this measure with the company's characteristics, that I will collect through the survey.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
I will run the experiment at the end or at the beginning of the meeting of the CIA (Confederazione Agricoltori Italiani, the Italian confederation of farmers).
The experiment is structured in three parts. The first part implements the treatment variation. Producers have the chance to take a purchase decision for the association and earn a sum of money. In a 2x2 design I vary the number of decision makers (individual decision or 3 people decision by majority) and the number of people whose payoff is affected by the decision (1 or 3). Participants face a list of several choices between buying the ethical good for all the budget (get no profit) and unethical good that gives a varying profit, for them or for the group depending on the condition.
To have a baseline of ethical behaviour to correlate with subjects’ business characteristics, we collect individual ethical decisions in a choice list setting. Producers decide between donating to the ASeS or taking a varying monetary payment. This decision resembles everyday consumption decision with possible negative externalities (e.g., child labour, environmental pollution or inhumane working conditions). Donating money to charity avoids creating the negative externality of no donation.
At the end of the session, I ask producers questions about the firm and the study.
Experimental Design Details
I will run the experiment at the end or at the beginning of the meeting of the CIA (Confederazione Agricoltori Italiani, the Italian confederation of farmers). The experiment is structured in three parts. The first part implements the treatment variation. Producers have the chance to take a purchase decision for the association and earn a sum of money. In a 2x2 design I vary the number of decision makers (individual decision or 3 people decision by majority) and the number of people whose payoff is affected by the decision (1 or 3). Participants face a list of several choices between buying the ethical good for all the budget (get no profit) and unethical good that gives a varying profit. The choice is taken by each subject singularly, pen and paper. If the treatment implements joint decision making the final choice is the one selected by the majority. Any profit coming from the final choice is kept by the subject or divided equally among the group members, depending on the treatment condition. Only one choice pair is paid. Subjects make decisions in the price list and then one of the choice pairs is selected randomly for purchase and payment. I keep the social impact constant in the four conditions, so the total negative externality and profit to be gained is the same across the treatments. The individual incentive to behave unethical and earn a profit is therefore lower in case of joint profits. An increase of unethical choices with this variation would then show a strong diffusion of guilt and a high evaluation of your team mates' profits. I also keep the chance for each subject to see his decision applied constant at 1/3 across treatments. In the Not my Fault treatment, we use the strategy method. Here the group decides by majority about a subject's payoff: ABC decide with majority rule, A's payoff. Each subject is asked to take the choices as if he were the receiver A and the receiver is then randomly selected among the group members. Each subject is also asked to make the choices, before the draw, as if the receiver were another subject. In the Manager treatment, one person decides for the group: A decides, A B C's payoff. Each subject is asked to take the decision as if they were the manager A and then one of the three members of the group is selected to be the decision maker. In both the Individual (A decides, A's payoff) and the Team conditions (ABC decide with majority rule, A B C's payoff) we select and apply the decisions of one every three subjects/teams. To have a baseline of ethical behaviour to correlate with subjects’ business characteristics, we collect individual ethical decisions in a choice list setting. Producers decide between donating to the ASeS or taking a varying monetary payment. This decision resembles everyday consumption decision with possible negative externalities (e.g., child labour, environmental pollution or inhumane working conditions). Donating money to charity avoids creating the negative externality of no donation. Participants in this part take the individual choice in a list of 15 possible alternative outcomes. The decision is between getting varying profits for themselves and a donation to the ASeS. To determine the choice pair to pay, I use the procedure in part one. After participants have decided for all the decision pairs, one is selected randomly and played. At the end of the session, I ask producers questions about the firm and the study. I ask about the decisional structure in their firms and the number of employees. I then ask whether buying the non ecological ink or taking money individually in the study is regarded as unethical. Finally I ask whether they think having to decide for others/in a group changes decision.
Randomization Method
Randomly draw the seat number for each participant (draw a number from a box). Each seat will correspond to a specific treatment. In each session there will be at least 3 people assigned to each treatment.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
>150 subjects
Sample size: planned number of observations
>150 producers
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
>30 subject in each treatment condition
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
In the Individual Treatment, we expect the Average Amount of Money at Which Subjects Decide to Buy Unethical and Take the Payment to be 15. With a standard deviation of 6, a sample size of 30 subjects per treatment group and a power of 0.95, the minimum detectable effect is a difference between scores of 2.8
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
College of Humanities and Social Science and the School of Economics
IRB Approval Date
2017-05-30
IRB Approval Number
N/A
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, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS