We are running an RCT within an innovation contest that is being run for the purposes of this research, and in partnership with Thermo Fisher’s office in Tijuana, Mexico. The contest is open to all Baja California, Mexico residents over the age of 18. It is a digital hackathon in which participants work on a specific problem that requires a software-based solution remotely, and submit their projects digitally. The contest is being promoted as a Hackathon that is part of a research study because we are not permitting participants to request to remove themselves from the data once they sign up for the contest. Furthermore, the contest is advertised as having up to $15,000 in prizes to be won, but the specific structure of rewards is not disclosed.
Everyone interested in signing up for the contest must first complete a survey that asks about their demographics, educational and work experience backgrounds, their programming knowledge, their experience in other innovation contests, their beliefs about their relative capabilities, and their risk preferences. They will also be asked to consent to have their survey and contest performance data used for research purposes. The sign-up deadline is approximately 48 hours before the start of the contest.
Following the sign-up deadline, participants will be randomly assigned to one of two reward structures: an all or nothing structure in which the first place winner receives the full $15,000 and a multiple prize reward structure in which there are prizes for the top ten winners. In the multiple prize reward structure, first prize is awarded $6,000, second prize $3,000, third prize $1,500, 4th place $900, and those who place in the 5th-10th place will receive $600. Contest participants will be notified about their reward structure by email at the start of the contest. The email will also provide information about the contest problem they are being asked to provide a solution for (information about the specific contest problem is not given until the contest start time to avoid people who signed up earlier having a mechanical advantage over those who signed up later). Importantly, participants in each of the two reward structures will be ranked relative to those in their reward structure. However, the same set of judges will judges both sets of projects to allow for judge fixed effects.
The contest is 54 hours after the start time. Contest submissions will be judged by academic and industry leaders in computer science and healthcare who will not be aware submitter treatment status.
We will use data on gender, innovator team composition (size of team and team member differences, and prior experience in innovative activities to examine heterogeneous treatment effects.