Understanding Paternalism
Last registered on January 17, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Understanding Paternalism
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004630
Initial registration date
August 28, 2019
Last updated
January 17, 2020 3:38 AM EST
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
NHH Bergen
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
NHH Bergen
PI Affiliation
University of Zurich
PI Affiliation
University of Bergen
PI Affiliation
NHH Bergen
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2019-08-12
End date
2020-01-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We study a decision situation in which a person ("the paternalist") is given the opportunity to intervene in order to prevent another person ("the paternalee") from making a choice that will not reflect his or her true preferences, i.e., prevent the person from making a mistake. In a between-subject design we vary the mode of intervention available to the paternalist: (i) to restrict the paternalee's freedom of choice or (ii) to provide the paternalee with information. We also vary the reason why the paternalee is making the mistake: (i) because they have made a mistake in their own calculations or (ii) because they have been given incorrect information. We fix the paternalists' beliefs about the effectiveness of the interventions, with both interventions being fully effective. We conduct an online experiment in which n = 8000 paternalists, recruited from the general population of the U.S., make real decisions for paternalees recruited through an online labor market.

In a second step, we try to disentangle the motives of freedom of choice and resentment by using an additional treatment with n = 6000 paternalist, again recruited from the general U.S. population.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Bartling, Björn et al. 2020. "Understanding Paternalism." AEA RCT Registry. January 17. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4630-2.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2019-08-12
Intervention End Date
2020-01-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
We measure the decision of whether participants in our experiment (the paternalists) decide to intervene into the choice environment of a real online worker (the paternalee) or not.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
In a between-subject design we vary the mode of intervention available to the paternalist: (i) to restrict the paternalee's freedom of choice or (ii) to provide the paternalee with information. We also vary the reason why the paternalee is making the mistake: (i) because they have made a mistake in their own calculations or (ii) because they have been given incorrect information. We fix the paternalists' beliefs about the effectiveness of the interventions, with both interventions being fully effective.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Software-based randomization (Qualtrics)
Randomization Unit
individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
8000 individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
8000 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
2000 individuals per treatment arm
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Sample size was determined in order to have 80% power to detect a difference of 5 percentage points with a baseline intervention rate of 70% (or 30%) and alpha = .01. Necessary sample size per treatment cell amounts to n = 2049 (power analysis conducted using Stata 15 SE).
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers