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Cooperation culture and monetary incentives to cooperate: An experiment in a company
Last registered on February 25, 2019


Trial Information
General Information
Cooperation culture and monetary incentives to cooperate: An experiment in a company
Initial registration date
February 20, 2019
Last updated
February 25, 2019 10:02 PM EST
Primary Investigator
Ludwig-Maximilans-University Munich
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Cooperation among employees is one of the most important pillars for company success. A common practice to foster a cooperative culture among employees is to provide monetary incentives to cooperate. For example, through managers or institutional arrangements that allocate monetary rewards to more cooperative employees. However, economic theory as well as empirical evidence suggest that such incentive choices can induce unintended side effects. In the economic literature on cooperation it has been emphasized that incentive choices can signal bad (or good) news about the prevalence of uncooperative individuals in a population. As a consequence, incentives can have limited or even counterproductive effects on cooperative behavior. Do incentive choices work as information devices in a natural environment, namely, in a company that wants to foster cooperation? And what are the implications for the company’s efforts? The pre-analysis plan that I upload here outlines hypotheses and planned analyses of a fully-incentivized online experiment with about 50 managers and 350-400 employees from a large company. It focuses on the information effects induced by managers’ incentive choices on the cooperation culture among employees measured in an online public good game experiment.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Deversi, Marvin. 2019. "Cooperation culture and monetary incentives to cooperate: An experiment in a company ." AEA RCT Registry. February 25. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3931-1.0.
Former Citation
Deversi, Marvin. 2019. "Cooperation culture and monetary incentives to cooperate: An experiment in a company ." AEA RCT Registry. February 25. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3931/history/42097.
Experimental Details
In 2017, the company has participated in a first study (as outlined by Deversi et al., 2019, AEARCTR-0002596) to measure and subsequently foster their culture of cooperation. Importantly, the managers and all subordinate employees have not been informed about the study results yet. In the planned online experiment, I randomly inform managers about the results and randomly state to employees that the manager has been informed. In the planned experiment, managers choose incentives of a public good game played by non-managing employees.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
The main variables of interest are the belief about others’ contributions and the descriptive norm.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The between-treatment difference-in-differences are also used.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Other variables of interest are the unconditional contributions, injunctive norms, and cooperative attitudes. I use the employees’ beliefs about the managers’ choice behavior, expectations, and prescriptive views as robustness variables.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
I use a between subject design for managers and non-managing employees.

Treated managers get informed about the cooperation behavior of employees in the first study. Managers in the control group do not receive any information on this.

I state to the non-managing employees in the treatment group that managers have been informed when choosing incentives of the game to be played. There is no statement about this in the control group‘s instructions.

Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done by the company's survey team in their office using a computer.
Randomization Unit
Work teams.
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
No clusters planned for analysis. Approx. 120 teams selected.
Sample size: planned number of observations
About 50 managers and 350-400 non-managing employees.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
About 185 per treatment arm.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
I should have enough power to detect economically sizable and relevant effects that are larger than 0.31 using a Mann-Whitney U test. Details can be found in the analysis plan.
IRB Name
Ethics Committee of LMU Munich
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)