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Clouded Judgement: Air Pollution, Priming and Inattention to Energy Efficiency in China
Last registered on July 02, 2018

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Clouded Judgement: Air Pollution, Priming and Inattention to Energy Efficiency in China
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003096
Initial registration date
June 29, 2018
Last updated
July 02, 2018 10:27 AM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of Pittsburgh
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Pittsburgh
PI Affiliation
University of Pittsburgh
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2018-03-11
End date
2018-07-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We explore the interaction between salience, information and inattention to energy efficiency in China. To date, empirical evidence on the existence of inattention to energy costs comes from the developed world. Our project will establish whether inattention to energy efficiency exists in the developing world. Our experiment will also allow us to explore what drives heterogeneity in inattention. First, we will use plausibly exogenous variation in local air pollution as a measure of the salience of environmental problems to test whether salience has a causal effect on willingness to pay for energy efficiency and whether the effect of information is enhanced or attenuated by salience. Second, we will test whether air pollution, via changes in cognition, has an effect on willingness to pay for energy efficiency and the energy efficiency gap, and whether information is more or less effective when cognition is impaired. Finally, we will test whether priming decision makers to think about environmental or energy costs affects willingness to pay for energy efficiency and estimates of the energy efficiency gap. The results will contribute to our understanding of what drives inattention and will have important implications for the targeting of energy efficiency policy.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Beattie, Graham, Iza Ding and Andrea Nauze. 2018. "Clouded Judgement: Air Pollution, Priming and Inattention to Energy Efficiency in China." AEA RCT Registry. July 02. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3096-1.0.
Former Citation
Beattie, Graham et al. 2018. "Clouded Judgement: Air Pollution, Priming and Inattention to Energy Efficiency in China." AEA RCT Registry. July 02. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3096/history/31414.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2018-04-11
Intervention End Date
2018-06-30
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
willingness to pay (WTP) for LED lightbulb and change in WTP for LED lightbulb
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Participants will be provided with a budget from which they can purchase two lightbulbs. One lightbulb has high energy use and a short lifetime; the other uses less energy and has a longer lifetime. Participants will then be asked to choose between the light bulbs at a range of relative prices. At the end of the experiment, one of the participant’s decisions is chosen to be implemented and they will receive a package of lightbulbs, and any remaining budget that they did not spend. Randomization of the chosen lightbulb will be undertaken by a cell phone app that rolls dice in front of the survey respondent. The surveyor will record the outcome and give the respondent the correct lightbulb and remaining shopping budget. In addition to the lightbulb choice, the surveyors will collect demographic information as well as pro-environmental preferences.

Treatments are a combination of detailed information on the relative lifetime costs of the two lightbulbs and a series of priming questions. In addition, we will implement the experiment on high and low air pollution days, such that we have quasi-experimental variation in air pollution. The treatment groups are:

A: Cost Information
- Intro script
- Light bulb info sheet
- First 15 choices
- Light bulb shape distractor
- Energy cost info sheet
- Second 15 choices
- Cost priming
- Environmental priming
- Time preference elicitation
- Cognition tests
- Post questionnaire

B: Control
- Intro script
- Light bulb info sheet
- First 15 choices
- Light bulb shape distractor
-
- Second 15 choices
- Cost priming
- Environmental priming
- Time preference elicitation
- Cognition tests
- Post questionnaire

C: Cost Priming + Cost Information
- Intro script
- Light bulb info sheet
- First 15 choices
- Cost priming
- Light bulb shape distractor
- Energy cost info sheet
- Second 15 choices
- Environmental priming
- Time preference elicitation
- Cognition tests
- Post questionnaire

D: Environmental Priming + Cost Information
- Intro script
- Light bulb info sheet
- First 15 choices
- Environmental priming
- Light bulb shape distractor
- Energy cost info sheet
- Second 15 choices
- Cost priming
- Time preference elicitation
- Cognition tests
- Post questionnaire

E: Cost Priming
- Intro script
- Light bulb info sheet
- First 15 choices
- Cost priming
- Light bulb shape distractor
-
- Second 15 choices
- Environmental priming
- Time preference elicitation
- Cognition tests
- Post questionnaire

F: Environmental Priming
- Intro script
- Light bulb info sheet
- First 15 choices
- Environmental priming
- Light bulb shape distractor
-
- Second 15 choices
- Cost priming
- Time preference elicitation
- Cognition tests
- Post questionnaire

G: same as A, with lightbulb types reversed in questions X1-15 and X16-30

H: same as B, with lightbulb types reversed in questions X1-15 and X16-30

I: same as C, with lightbulb types reversed in questions X1-15 and X16-30

J: same as D, with lightbulb types reversed in questions X1-15 and X16-30

K: same as E, with lightbulb types reversed in questions X1-15 and X16-30

L: same as F, with lightbulb types reversed in questions X1-15 and X16-30

Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
The randomization is done by the research team using a random number generator. Enumerators will approach respondents at random.
Randomization Unit
individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
The experiment is implemented via a paper-based field survey in two locations in Beijing. Survey responses will be collected by a team of four enumerators. Our target is to have each enumerator complete 16 surveys per survey day for a total of 32 days. Each day, the enumerators will implement 4 Group A,B, G, H surveys and 2 Group C-F & I-L surveys. At the start of each survey day, the enumerators are provided with a randomized ordering of surveys to be completed. The randomization is done by the research team using a random number generator. Enumerators will approach respondents at random.
Sample size: planned number of observations
1536 people
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
• Group A: 192
• Group B: 192
• Group C: 96
• Group D: 96
• Group E: 96
• Group F: 96
• Group G: 192
• Group H: 192
• Group I: 96
• Group J: 96
• Group K: 96
• Group L: 96
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
University of Pittsburgh
IRB Approval Date
2018-06-29
IRB Approval Number
PRO18050119
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