Information Acquisition, Moral Wiggle Room, and High Air Conditioning Usage

Last registered on July 26, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Information Acquisition, Moral Wiggle Room, and High Air Conditioning Usage
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004485
Initial registration date
July 25, 2019
Last updated
July 26, 2019, 4:34 PM EDT

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Milan

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Politecnico di Milano
PI Affiliation
Guanghua School of Management (GSM), Peking University
PI Affiliation
Carnegie Mellon University

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2019-07-01
End date
2019-09-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Environmental policies based on information provision are widespread, but have often proven ineffective. One possible explanation for information’s low effectiveness is that people actively avoid it. We conduct an online field experiment on air conditioning usage to test the theory of moral wiggle room, according to which people avoid information that would compel them to act morally, against the standard theory of information acquisition. The goal of the study is to identify conditions under which each theory applies. In the experiment, we observe how exogenously imposing a feeling of moral obligation to reduce air conditioning usage and varying the cost of doing so, influences subjects’ avoidance of information about their energy use impacts on the environment. Exploratory analysis will also assess the correlation between information acquisition and air conditioning usage, and the mechanism behind the effect of the treatment. We hope that our findings will provide guidance about tailoring the use of nudges and informational tools to the decision environment.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
d'Adda, Giovanna et al. 2019. "Information Acquisition, Moral Wiggle Room, and High Air Conditioning Usage ." AEA RCT Registry. July 26. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4485-1.0
Former Citation
d'Adda, Giovanna et al. 2019. "Information Acquisition, Moral Wiggle Room, and High Air Conditioning Usage ." AEA RCT Registry. July 26. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/4485/history/50724
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The intervention is detailed in the enclosed Pre-Analysis Plan.
Intervention Start Date
2019-07-08
Intervention End Date
2019-09-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Decision to acquire information on the enviornmental impact of AC usage
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Perceived impact from reducing individual use of AC and AC usage.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
AC usage is proxied by willingness to raise AC thermostat temperature and by self-reported AC thermostat temperature.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The experimental design is detailed in the enclosed Pre-Analysis Plan.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done by the internal randomization tool of the survey software.
Randomization Unit
Individual.
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
NA
Sample size: planned number of observations
2000
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
500 individuals per treatment.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Power calculations using data from a pilot study indicate that for our main outcome, information acquisition, and for the comparison between control and the experimental condition, which combines the two treatments described in detail in the PAP, a sample of 279 subjects per condition is deemed sufficient to detect differences significant at the 5 per cent level.
Supporting Documents and Materials

Documents

Document Name
Qualtrics survey document
Document Type
survey_instrument
Document Description
File
Qualtrics survey document

MD5: 69904cd9e8ba028524d08458bcbcf293

SHA1: de390c1178d821298e11d7bf8995b4999a6214ce

Uploaded At: July 25, 2019

IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Carnegie Mellon IRB
IRB Approval Date
2019-04-02
IRB Approval Number
STUDY2016_00000479,c ontinuing Review CR00000905
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents

Pre-Analysis plan

MD5: 044f4f779099da572fedf5c06e50025c

SHA1: 49a60de4d0345d75bf4834fbf58616416b7ebce2

Uploaded At: July 25, 2019

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials