Common-value public goods and informational social dilemmas

Last registered on February 22, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Common-value public goods and informational social dilemmas
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003253
Initial registration date
August 20, 2018

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
August 21, 2018, 12:31 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
February 22, 2019, 2:21 PM EST

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.

Locations

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Virginia Commonwealth University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Appalachian State University

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2016-01-29
End date
2017-06-06
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We experimentally examine the role of private information and communication in a public goods environment with uncertain returns. We consider a public goods game in which the Marginal Per Capita Return (MPCR) is either high or low. Before contributing, three players observe private signals correlated with the true MPCR and then send cheap talk messages to one another. There are social gains from truthful communication, but a private incentive to exaggerate. We compare treatments with and without cheap talk, finding that messages are largely truthful and influence contribution decisions. In further treatments, we increase the incentive to exaggerate and find reduced truthfulness and smaller gains from communication.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Cox, Caleb and Brock Stoddard. 2019. "Common-value public goods and informational social dilemmas." AEA RCT Registry. February 22. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3253
Former Citation
Cox, Caleb and Brock Stoddard. 2019. "Common-value public goods and informational social dilemmas." AEA RCT Registry. February 22. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3253/history/41907
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2016-01-29
Intervention End Date
2017-06-06

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
messages sent to other players (truthful or untruthful reporting of private signals); contribution decisions
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We include the following experimental conditions:
Baseline: public goods game with uncertain marginal per capita return (MPCR) drawn from {0,1.1}
Signals: like Baseline, but with private signals correlated with the true MPCR (equals true MPCR with 80% probability).
Cheap Talk: like Signals, but players send messages to one another after observing signals, but before contribution decisions
Signals SR: like Signals, but with a smaller range of possible MPCR values, {0.3,0.8}.
Cheap Talk SR: like Cheap Talk, but with a smaller range of possible MPCR values, {0.3,0.8}.
Signals WS: like Signals, but with weaker signal (equals true MPCR with 70% probability).
Cheap Talk WS: like Cheap Talk, but with weaker signal (equals true MPCR with 70% probability).
Cheap Talk Strat: like Cheap Talk, but choices in each round (message sent, contribution decision) made using strategy method.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by computer.
Randomization Unit
Groups of participants (sessions) are randomized to experimental conditions.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
38 sessions
Sample size: planned number of observations
426 participants
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Baseline: 42 participants
Signals: 45 participants
Cheap Talk: 96 participants
Signals SR: 33 participants
Cheap Talk SR: 72 participants
Signals WS: 36 participants
Cheap Talk WS: 78 participants
Cheap Talk Strat: 24 participants
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Virginia Commonwealth University
IRB Approval Date
2015-12-04
IRB Approval Number
HM20006281

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
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