Do image concerns matter for the voluntary provision of public goods by firms? Field experimental evidence from carbon neutral courier services
Last registered on February 28, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Do image concerns matter for the voluntary provision of public goods by firms? Field experimental evidence from carbon neutral courier services
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002646
Initial registration date
December 21, 2017
Last updated
February 28, 2019 5:38 AM EST
Location(s)
Region
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Centre for European Economic Research
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Centre for European Economic Research
PI Affiliation
Centre for European Economic Research
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2018-03-28
End date
2019-02-28
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The overall aim of the experiment is to test the impact of self-and social image concerns on the likelihood that firms participate in a voluntary carbon offsetting program as an example for a public good. Though public good provision of firms can be observed empirically (e.g. CSR measures), little is known about the different motivations and the mechanics behind it. We contribute to the literature by implementing an experimental setting that provides the sender of a delivery the opportunity to offset the carbon emissions of this service by paying a price premium, while we vary the opportunity to signal this pro-environmental behavior to the recipient of the delivery.
In a second phase, we extend the field experimental setting by introducing a 1:1 matching scheme to learn more about the firms’ evaluation of the signal. The matching doubles the amount of emissions offset while the price for the participant stays the same, if she decides to offset with a sticker attached to her delivery.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Fugger, Carina, Martin Kesternich and Kathrine von Graevenitz. 2019. "Do image concerns matter for the voluntary provision of public goods by firms? Field experimental evidence from carbon neutral courier services ." AEA RCT Registry. February 28. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2646/history/42205
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
From the beginning of the intervention onwards customers ordering deliveries via the webshop of a courier service provider are randomly assigned to one of the three different treatments in which they remain during the intervention. Observations of the treatments are therefore made in parallel. The intervention is planned to last at least 3 months. Based on previous orders we expect about 300 orders per month. So that a total of 900 observations (with equal shares of about 300 for each treatment) will be envisaged.
The three treatments vary the option to signal a carbon compensation decision (no signal, mandatory or voluntary signal). In a second ("matching") phase we offer to double the amount of emissions that are offset. This 1:1 matching is contingent upon signalling.
Intervention Start Date
2018-03-28
Intervention End Date
2018-12-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Proportion of orders with carbon offseting in total for the three treatments and share of signaled offsetting decisions among the 'voluntary signal' treatment.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
In our experimental setting, we aim at testing the impact of self- and social image concerns on firm behavior. Decision behavior will be examined by exposing individuals to different instruments in a randomized controlled trial. The focus of the experiment are business clients. We implement treatments in a carbon offsetting context that differ in the opportunity to signal the pro-environmental behavior. In the baseline scenario (T1) participants can decide whether they want to offset the carbon emissions resulting from their delivery but without any possibility to directly signal pro-environmental behavior to the recipient of the delivery. In a second treatment (T2) we introduce a sticker which is automatically attached to the address label of the parcel to signal pro-environmental behavior. In the third treatment (F3), the sticker option is optional and has to be actively chosen by the client.
In a second phase we add a 1:1 matching scheme. This adresses those participants that initially decided against the offsetting or against the signal. It offers them to double the amount of emissions offset in case they decide to purchase the carbon compensation and signal it.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Clients are assigned to the three treatments by a computer based random number generator mechanism based on their unique customer IDs.
Randomization Unit
clients
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
We observe orders in the webshop of a courier service provider over a duration of 3 month. [An extension of this minimum duration allowed us to conduct the field experiment over a total of 9 month until the end of December 2019.]
Sample size: planned number of observations
About 900 orders in the webshop. [We exceeded this minimum requirement by extending the total duration of data collection.]
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
approximately 300 orders per treatment. [By extending the total duration we were able to extend the samplesize.]
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Unit: percentage of orders with carbon offseting; each of the two treatments is compared with the baseline treatment. alpha=0.05 Power=0.8 N=600 N per group=300 p1=0.01 --> minimum estimated effect size and experimental-group proportion: delta=0.0385 p2=0.0485
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