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The cost of intrinsic motivation - Policy interventions and their effects on behavioral spillovers
Last registered on August 06, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
The cost of intrinsic motivation - Policy interventions and their effects on behavioral spillovers
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004512
Initial registration date
August 05, 2019
Last updated
August 06, 2019 11:52 AM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2019-08-06
End date
2019-11-01
Secondary IDs
C91, D91, Q50
Abstract
The experimental design is conceived, in order to investigate how the influence of policy interventions, which target pro-environmental behavior, can lead to different degrees of behavioral spillover effects. We center the analysis on policy measures ranging from liberal paternalism to enforced regulation. Thereby, we exploit a characteristic of these measures; namely, the variations in subjects’ perceived voluntariness to conduct the targeted behavior. The perception of choosing a moral behavior voluntarily leaves room for warm glow and intrinsic motivation, which are assumed to mediate behavioral spillover effects. The experimental analysis will be conducted in a between-subject design with a non-student sample. The experiment consists of two subsequent pro-environmental tasks, for which extrinsic motivation is induced using three different policy interventions, comprising of either nudge, a monetary incentive or enforced compliance. Based on insights from the literature suggesting that the degree of voluntariness is pivotal for the size of behavioral spillover effects, we hypothesize that a larger the degree of perceived voluntariness in the first task, leads to lower effort in the second pro-environmental task.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Alt, Marius. 2019. "The cost of intrinsic motivation - Policy interventions and their effects on behavioral spillovers ." AEA RCT Registry. August 06. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4512-1.0.
Former Citation
Alt, Marius. 2019. "The cost of intrinsic motivation - Policy interventions and their effects on behavioral spillovers ." AEA RCT Registry. August 06. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/4512/history/51321.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2019-08-06
Intervention End Date
2019-11-01
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Subjects donations in the second task at the intensive and extensive margin.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
After answering the discrete choice questions, subjects have the option to donate their show up fee to an environmental NGO.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Time needed to answer comprehension quesitons in the first part. Mistakes made, when answering comprehension questions.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Comprehension questions are asked in order to ensure that subjects have understood the topic of the discrete choice experiment. However, as in four of five treatment, answering the comprehension quesions generate a donation to an afforestation project, it is also conceived as a pro-environmental real effort task.
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The design aims at isolating the effect of policy interventions to incentivize pro-environmental behavior on subsequent pro-environmental behavior. The experiment is embedded in a discrete choice experiment, in which subjects must answer comprehension quesions in order to proceed to the decision stage. We turn this task in a pro-environmental real effort task, by tellinjg participants that each correctly answered question will lead to the plantation of a tree in an afforestation project. In additional treatments, effort is further incentivized by social comparison, monetary incentives and a punishment scheme. Also, a baseline is added as a control, in which answering the comprehensions questions has no material consequences. After the experiment, subjects have the opportunity to donate the participation fee to an environmental NGO, not being related to climate or afforestation. This represents the second behvavioral spillover task. The difference in donations between the baseline treatment and the respective other treatments will determine the behavioral spillover effect. As we keep the environmental outcome constant in the first task, we are able to isolate the effect of external pressure through policy interventions on behavioral spillover effects in form of subsequent donation levels.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
By a computer.
Randomization Unit
Assignment to treatments is determined randomly for each subject on an individual level with within-session variation.
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
500 individual observations distributed over five treatments
Sample size: planned number of observations
500 Individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
100 observations in "baseline.
100 observations in "NoIncentive".
100 observations in "Nudge".
100 observations in "Money".
100 observations in "Punishment".
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
We base our power calculation on the meta-analysis of Blanken et al (2015) on behavioral spillover effects. We average the effect size of 11 studies, most similar to our design, to obtain an idea of the expected effect size. Based on this, the effect size necessary to observe a behavioral spillover effect is given by d=0.42 (Cohen's d). This corresponds to 92 observations per treatment necessary to obtain a power of 80%. For more information, see attached pre-analysis plan. Blanken, I., van de Ven, N., & Zeelenberg, M. (2015). A meta-analytic review of moral licensing. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41(4), 540-558.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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