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Gender Difference in Volunteer's Dilemma Game
Initial registration date
November 02, 2019
August 31, 2020 1:07 PM EDT
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University of Pittsburgh
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Indian Institute of Management Bangalore
Additional Trial Information
Volunteering decisions in group settings often involve sacrificing one's part or some personal disadvantage for the benefit of the group. Babcock et al. (2017) show that compared to males, females volunteer more for low-promotability tasks. We extend their design to a laboratory based volunteering game with social recognition and study gender differences in volunteering. The aim of this paper is to examine whether the gender difference in volunteering is mitigated by i) positive social recognition, ii) negative social recognition and iii) both positive and negative social recognition. Our premise rests on the prior that males and females respond differently to positive and negative social recognition for low stake volunteering tasks.
Babcock et al. (2017) show women volunteer more for low promotability tasks and are also asked more often to do so. We examine if non-monetary incentives such as social recognition can close the gender gap.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Probability of investing , probability of group investing
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
It is a binary variable which takes the value 1 if one invests in a round and 0 otherwise
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Time taken to volunteer
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
The game is played for ten rounds each, in which the participants are randomly and anonymously assigned to groups of three. In each round, the participants are given anywhere between 45 to 90 seconds to decide whether they individually wish to volunteer or invest in a group account, on behalf of the group. They do not exactly know how much time has been allotted to their group. Incentive structure of the game is such that a group member is better off waiting for someone in his/her group to invest.
Our treatments differ in terms of the information given at the end of each period. In our baseline treatment, we give the participants no information about the investor. In the nudge treatment, we just display the player's neutral identity in the group to investigate the effect of a 'nudge'. In the next treatment, fictitious names of the investors are displayed on the participants screens.
Three additional treatments are designed to investigate how social recognition induces investing. Subjects are told that each group will be displayed the names of the investor along with a smiling emoji and publicly congratulated in the positive social recognition treatment. In the negative social recognition treatment, they are told that the names of the two non-investors will be displayed along with a frowning emoji. Finally, in the positive and negative social recognition treatment, both the names of the investor and non-investors are displayed with appropriate emojis. Likelihood of investing is compared across treatments.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization done by software ztree (used for laboratory experiments)
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
100 by each treatment arms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)