Experimental Design Details
We run the experiment on a student crowdworking platform. The subjects are students registered at the platform. We do not inform the workers about the fact that they participate in an experiment. The experiment is framed as a regular task concerned with the framing and presentation of online minijobs. In the job post, we inform workers that they can choose between two different versions of a task and that they can earn a payoff in a certain range. The entire experiment lasts less than 10 minutes and we notify all workers that no data is shared with any third party.
All workers earn a fixed participation fee conditional on completing the HIT. The welcome page informs workers about potential payoffs and about the fact that they will not be paid if they do not perform the task as requested. After the welcome page, workers have to pass an attention check. The following instructions inform workers that they can choose between two versions of a task, a default version and an alternative. The instructions do not provide any details about the versions of the task, but workers are informed about the fact that both versions of the task consist of a clocked activity that has to be performed for a fixed time span, that in both versions workers cannot pause during the task, and that irrespective of the version performed, the clocked activity requires the same effort.
After the instructions page, workers are redirected to a survey page consisting of a question regarding the perceived relative difficulty of the two versions of the task. Workers state their perceived relative difficulty on a scale consisting of five items (version A much easier than version B, version A somewhat easier than version B, version A and version B equally difficult, version A somewhat more difficult than version B, version A much more difficult than version B).
Next, workers are redirected to a page that informs them that the next step will be the decision which version of the task they will perform. In the treatment group, workers are informed that if they perform the default version of the task, they will be subject to close monitoring, using the wording „If you perform version A, we will monitor your work effort”. After being redirected to the next page, workers are informed about the mechanism that selects the version of the task to be performed. Workers are asked if they want to switch from the default version A to version B of the task if X Euro are deducted from their bonus (the bonus is the difference between the highest possible payoff and the fixed participation fee). We then elicit if workers are willing to pay for switching to the alternative version of the task for a menu of prices. The computer randomly draws a price, and the pre-determined choice of the subject for the drawn price is implemented.
After being redirected to the next page, workers are informed that they are about to start working on the task. The page shows an example of the task. The task is the same, irrespective of whether workers perform what has been labelled the default version or what has been labelled the alternative version. The task consists of a panel of 25 dice showing different numbers. Workers perform the task for 15 rounds. In each round, they are asked to click a die showing a given number, with the number changing between rounds. In each round, the panel of dice is visible for six seconds. If a workers does not click any die in more than one round, she is informed that she did not perform the task as requested and as a consequence, her participation has been terminated. Clicking a die that does not show the correct number does not lead to exclusion from the experiment. Workers who drop out at this stage (or at any other stage) do not receive any payoff.
After completing the task, workers are redirected to the final page providing the redemption key for claiming the payoff earned during the experiment.