x

We are happy to announce that all trial registrations will now be issued DOIs (digital object identifiers). For more information, see here.
Shutting down social preferences in the lab: an experimenter demand approach
Last registered on October 07, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Shutting down social preferences in the lab: an experimenter demand approach
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004647
Initial registration date
September 01, 2019
Last updated
October 07, 2019 9:44 AM EDT
Location(s)

This section is unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access to this information.

Request Information
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Stockholm School of Economics
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2019-09-02
End date
2020-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Social preferences pose a challenge for any lab testing of theoretical predictions that are based on unobservable vNM utilities. Depending on the theory being tested, the unobservable mapping of laboratory payoffs to vNM utilities will, at best, introduce considerable noise, and at worst, bias the results. I investigate the efficacy of a very straightforward method for reducing the influence of social preferences on decision-making in the lab: instructing subjects to behave selfishly. The question is a simple one: does maximization of one's own payoff better predict subjects' behavior in experiments when they are explicitly instructed to achieve this goal?
To answer this, a first experiment will be conducted in which subjects play a one-shot prisoner's dilemma with one of three treatments: (1) social framing of actions, (2) neutral framing of actions, and (3) neutral framing of actions with explicit instructions to behave selfishly.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Semb, Joakim. 2019. "Shutting down social preferences in the lab: an experimenter demand approach." AEA RCT Registry. October 07. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4647-1.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2019-09-02
Intervention End Date
2019-09-03
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Degree of cooperation in PD
Beliefs about opponent cooperation in PD
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The primary outcomes are the degree of cooperation (defection) in actions as well as beliefs.

Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Survey questions designed to distinguish between types of motives (see separate file for minor hypotheses)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Pen-and-paper experiment in which subjects play a one-shot prisoner's dilemma with one of three treatments: (1) social framing of actions, (2) neutral framing of actions, and (3) neutral framing of actions with explicit instructions to behave selfishly (see enclosed instructions for exact phrasing). After choosing their own action, subjects state their beliefs about the distribution of actions among other participants. Payment is based on payoff in the PD and on the accuracy of beliefs.

Subjects also answer an exit survey composed mainly of likert scale items about motives behind action choice.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Envelopes ordered randomly
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
250-300 students
Sample size: planned number of observations
250-300 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
83-100 students in each treatment arm
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

There are documents in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access to this information.

Request Information
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

There are documents in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access to this information.

Request Information