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Study of Financial Need Reporting
Initial registration date
February 06, 2019
October 12, 2019 4:50 PM EDT
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University of Southern California
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
In many educational and public policy related settings, economic agents draw resources from a common pot to subsidize consumption of a good or service (consider scholarship aid or services at a public health clinic). From an organizational vantage point, an optimal allocation of resources would enable consumption (participation) for anyone eligible while minimizing the economic surplus given out to agents. In practice, this is difficult to implement due to asymmetric information on agents’ valuations. This study seeks to examine, via randomized experiment, the extent to which pro-sociality of agents can be utilized to improve upon a scheme where everyone receives the same subsidy or a fixed subsidy based on observable characteristics. In particular we test the extent to which provision of accurate information on one’s position of relative need (as measured by FAFSA) impacts agents’ reported valuations in scholarship applications for co-curricular educational travel programs at several U.S. universities.
Provision of accurate information on the distribution of relative need of financial aid applicants.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Heterogeneous agents' response to accurate information on relative financial need when reporting valuations for co-curricular educational programs.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Scholarship applications to co-curricular educational programs will be randomized to receive slightly different scholarship applications. The treatment group will be provided accurate information on the distribution of "need" of applicants as measured by FAFSA and their position in the distribution. We seek to understand how this provision of information influences the behavior of applicants in reporting their maximum feasible contribution to participate and whether pro-social/fairness concerns are sufficient to provide a meaningful improvement to the allocation of resources.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization is done within online survey software. When participants progress to randomized portion they are randomly assigned via survey algorithm to one of two response blocks.
Was the treatment clustered?
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
500 control, 500 treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
Office for the Protection of Research Subjects University of Southern Califonia
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number