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Ex-Ante Pareto, Ex-Post Egalitarianism, and Dominance: A large-scale experiment with a nationally representative population
Last registered on October 31, 2017

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Ex-Ante Pareto, Ex-Post Egalitarianism, and Dominance: A large-scale experiment with a nationally representative population
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002338
Initial registration date
August 15, 2017
Last updated
October 31, 2017 11:42 AM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
NHH Norwegian School of Economics
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
NHH Norwegian School of Economics
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2017-07-18
End date
2018-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The appropriate role of paternalistic behavior is a key issue in the political debate about the relationship between the state and its citizens. Should the state institute mandatory retirement savings, require motorcyclists to wear helmets or refuse to enforce certain types of contracts?Or should the government aim to influence choices in less intrusive ways? Questions about the legitimate role of paternalism are also at the
heart of many interpersonal relationships.

The goal of this project is to study people’s willingness to act paternalistically and distribute income equally between two workers when the workers themselves have chosen a risky payment scheme leading to unequal payments.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Cappelen, Alexander and Bertil Tungodden. 2017. "Ex-Ante Pareto, Ex-Post Egalitarianism, and Dominance: A large-scale experiment with a nationally representative population." AEA RCT Registry. October 31. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2338-2.0.
Former Citation
Cappelen, Alexander, Bertil Tungodden and Bertil Tungodden. 2017. "Ex-Ante Pareto, Ex-Post Egalitarianism, and Dominance: A large-scale experiment with a nationally representative population." AEA RCT Registry. October 31. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2338/history/22792.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2017-07-18
Intervention End Date
2017-08-02
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
The primary outcome variable is people’s willingness to act paternalistically.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
People's willingness to act paternalistically is measured as their willingness to select a payment scheme for a pair of workers that is not their stated preference.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We recruit workers from an online labor market to work on a task for five minutes. After completion of the task, the workers are asked how they would like to be paid. They can choose between a risky payment scheme and a safe payment scheme. The payment scheme they choose will be implemented with a given probability or otherwise decided by a third party. We then recruit spectators acting as third parties and ask them to decide which of the payment schemes that will in fact be implemented.

Updated 31.10.17: The experiment will be expanded to include a sample of American spectators. The dataset will be used to compare the distributive preferences of Norwegians and Americans.
Experimental Design Details
The task the workers are asked to do is a survey that gives a description of a hypothetical situation in which two children have agreed to gamble with their pocket money so that one will end up losing their pocket money to the other. The workers are then asked to decide whether they will allow the children to gamble or if they will prevent the gamble. The description of the hypothetical situation is divided into 4 different treatments yielding different descriptions of the nature of the gamble between the children. (1) - The children have decided that they will bet a week's pocket money on a game of dice. Both roll a dice and whoever gets the highest roll will win the whole amount. (2) - The same situation as in (1), except that the children have already rolled the dice and given the whole amount to the one with the highest dice roll. (3) - The children have decided that they will play a game with a week's pocket money at stake, and whoever wins will get the whole amount. (4) - The same situation as in (3), except that the game has already been played and the winner been given the whole amount. Additionally, the hypothetical situations described to the spectators vary over 5 different age treatments, which vary the age of the children involved in the gamble. The children are varied between being 6, 9, 12, 15 or 18 years old. They also answer to what extent they agree to different statements about paternalism, and also several background questions. After having completed the survey the workers are told that they will be matched with another worker who has completed the same assignment. The workers are then asked whether they prefer a risky payment scheme where one of the workers will be randomly drawn to receive 5 USD, while the other will receive 1 USD, or a safe payment scheme where each worker will receive 2 USD for completing the assignment. They are told that the chosen payment scheme will be implemented with a certain probability. The workers are matched in pairs of two where both preferred the same payment scheme, and 90% of the pairs are then matched with a spectator. The spectators are randomly assigned to six different treatments. (1) Ex ante: The spectators are informed that both workers preferred the risky payment scheme, and they are then asked to decide whether the safe or the risky payment scheme should be implemented. (2) Ex post - alternative A: The spectators are informed that both workers preferred the risky payment scheme, and they are then asked to decide whether the safe or the risky payment scheme should be implemented. If they choose to implement the risky payment scheme, worker A will be the lucky worker receiving the high payment. (3) Ex post - alternative B: The spectators are informed that both workers preferred the risky payment scheme, and they are then asked to decide whether the safe or the risky payment scheme should be implemented. If they choose to implement the risky payment scheme, worker B will be the lucky worker receiving the high payment. In addition, treatment (4), (5) and (6) are the same as (1), (2) and (3), except that the spectators are not informed about the preferred payment scheme of the workers. Updated 31.10.17: Three hypotheses for the comparison of the Norwegian and the American spectators: - Fewer Americans violate Ex Ante Pareto. - Fewer Americans choose Ex Post Egalitarian distribution. - The share of egalitarian spectators violating Ex Ante Pareto is lower in the US than in Norway (a = share violating Ex Ante Pareto, b = share choosing egalitarian distribution Ex Post, the share we refer to is a/b).
Randomization Method
Randomization done by computer using Excel.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
2000 individuals

Updated 31.10.17: 4000 individuals (2000 Norwegians and 2000 Americans)
Sample size: planned number of observations
2000 individuals Updated 31.10.17: 4000 individuals (2000 Norwegians and 2000 Americans)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
(1) Ex ante - 500 individuals
(2) Ex post alternative A - 250 individuals
(3) Ex post alternative B - 250 individuals
(4) Ex ante, no information - 500 individuals
(2) Ex post alternative A, no information - 250 individuals
(3) Ex post alternative B, no information - 250 individuals

Each individual make 1 distributive decision.

Updated 31.10.17: This will be the sample size both in Norway and the US.
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
Analysis Plan

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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