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Aspirations game

Last registered on September 21, 2018


Trial Information

General Information

Aspirations game
Initial registration date
September 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
September 21, 2018, 12:04 AM EDT

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


Primary Investigator

Leibniz University Hannover/ The World Bank

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Development institutions have started to recognize the role of aspiration-related barriers in the creation of poverty traps. Aspirations, understood as reference points, define milestones for individuals. In the case of individuals living in poorer areas, aspirations are often assumed to be low given the perceived hopelessness that many face. Recent research aims to understand how aspirations form and how they affect the behavior of individuals living in poverty, to better direct efforts that would allow them to improve their livelihoods. Less attention has been however paid to the actual measurement of aspirations and empirical assessment of the channels through which they are formed. This project aims to fill this gap by developing an experimental benchmark measure of aspirations against which a range of proposed survey questions aimed to capture aspirations can be validated. Also, it aims to analyze the relative role of personal and social factors in forming aspirations. It includes different sets of treatments consisting of performance comparisons with peers.

This trial connects with AEARCTR-0002632. The same recruitment strategy will be employed. The ethical approval extends to this aspirations game.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Reichert, Arndt. 2018. "Aspirations game." AEA RCT Registry. September 21.
Former Citation
Reichert, Arndt. 2018. "Aspirations game." AEA RCT Registry. September 21.
Experimental Details


social comparison with peers, monetary rewards
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
performance, decision-making
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We sample 50 villages in rural Senegal and will invite an average number of 24 households per village to participate in a game consisting of finding as many pairs of matching cards as possible within a limited time period ("Memorama" app). Peer comparisons and monetary rewards are randomly assigned.
Experimental Design Details
A survey team will ask two members per household to play a game consisting of finding as many pairs of matching cards as possible in three minutes (“Memorama” app). Each players player has one practice round and one actual round. In the actual round, the player is promised a constant payment Q for each matching pair of cards S to compensate for the cost c of exerting effort.

Before the actual round begins (after the practice round to become familiar with the task) the subject will be asked to state his or her expectations as to how many completions he or she will be capable of (i.e. expected number of completions – “How many matching cards do you think you will be able to find?”) as well as his or her goal a (i.e., aspired number of completions – “How many matching cards would you like to find?”).

After a random number of seconds of the actual round, players are surprised with an offer of X to discontinue playing.

In addition, players are randomly assigned to three different treatments and a control group (C):

Intervention TA: provide payment statistics of individuals of the same social environment who played the same game for 3 minutes.

Intervention TB: provide payment statistics of individuals of the same social environment who completed a different game for three minutes with the same fix payment per success.

Intervention TC: reversing the order between questions in relation to expectation and aspiration prior to the start of the game.

The main outcomes are: willingness to accept offer, number of matched pairs by playing time
Randomization Method
randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
50 villages, 1200 households
Sample size: planned number of observations
2400 players
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Solutions
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Protocol #2016/03/4


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials