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Decision Making for Others and the Preference for Competition
Last registered on October 01, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Decision Making for Others and the Preference for Competition
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004731
Initial registration date
October 01, 2019
Last updated
October 01, 2019 2:07 PM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Santa Clara University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Barnard College
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2019-10-05
End date
2019-12-15
Secondary IDs
Russel Sage Foundation Grant # 98_16_07
Abstract
We examine whether the gender-variant preferences for competition identified in the literature apply in decision-making for others (DMfO). Specifically, we will conduct a laboratory experiment in which subjects make decisions regarding willingness to compete on behalf of themselves and on behalf of others. Our willingness to compete measure follows closely the measure used in Neiderle and Vesterlund (2007).
Subjects will be assigned (by session) to either make decisions on behalf of themselves first (control) or on behalf of a randomly-assigned subject in the same session first (treatment). It warrants mention that when making decisions on behalf of another subject, the decision maker will know the gender of the person on whose behalf they are making the decision. All subjects will make decisions both on behalf of themselves and others; the only difference between treatment and control groups is the order in which they make those decisions. The study includes a second experimental intervention. Specifically, half of the subjects will be randomly-assigned to the "skin in the game" condition. These subjects will receive 10 percent of the earnings of subject on whose behalf they make the decision if the payment task is a DMfO task. The other half of the subjects will make un-incentivized DMfO decisions. Thus, the study is a 2 X 2 designed: DMfO first or DMfO second versus skin-in-the-game condition or no skin-in-the-game condition.

This investigation of willingness to compete in DMfO is motivated by two policy-relevant factors. First, a popular explanation for gender differences in various academic and labor-market settings is a lack of mentorship for women. DMfO research can help understand the nature of mentor’s decisions. Second, sponsorship (giving mentors a stake in mentee’s outcomes) has been proposed as a policy to help close gender gaps. In an experiment similar to Niederle and Vesterlund, Baldiga & Coffman (2018) find that sponsorship only serves to increase the
competitiveness of the worst performing men, thereby increasing the gender gap in willingness to compete. In the Baldiga & Coffman experiment, though, sponsors did not make decisions on behalf of subjects, nor did they indicate in any way what they thought subjects should do; as such, the effect of DMfO, an important dimension of real-world mentorship/sponsorship relationships, has not been studied in this context.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Ifcher, John and Homa Zarghamee. 2019. "Decision Making for Others and the Preference for Competition." AEA RCT Registry. October 01. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4731-1.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Subjects' willingness to compete (and preference for competition) will be measured following the methods used in Neiderle and Vesterlund (2007). The intervention is to randomly assign subjects (by session) to either make decisions on behalf of themselves first (control) or on behalf of a randomly-assigned subject in the same session first (treatment). It warrants mention that when making decisions on behalf of another subject, the decision maker will know the gender of the person on whose behalf they are making the decision. All subjects will make decisions both on behalf of themselves and others; the only difference between treatment and control groups is the order in which they make those decisions. The study includes a second experimental intervention. Specifically, half of the subjects will be randomly-assigned to the "skin in the game" condition. These subjects will receive 10 percent of the earnings of subject on whose behalf they make the decision if the payment task is a DMfO task. The other half of the subjects will make un-incentivized DMfO decisions. Thus, the study is a 2 X 2 designed: DMfO first or DMfO second versus skin-in-the-game condition or no skin-in-the-game condition.
Intervention Start Date
2019-10-05
Intervention End Date
2019-12-15
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Willingness to compete for self and willingness to compete for others (these outcome measures are used to measure the preference for competition).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Ranking of own performance, ranking of other's performance, and risk-preference elicitation.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We examine whether the gender-variant preferences for competition identified in the literature apply in decision-making for others (DMfO). Specifically, we will conduct a laboratory experiment in which subjects make decisions regarding willingness to compete on behalf of themselves and on behalf of others. Our willingness to compete measure follows closely the measure used in Neiderle and Vesterlund (2007).
Subjects will be assigned (by session) to either make decisions on behalf of themselves first (control) or on behalf of a randomly-assigned subject in the same session first (treatment). All subjects will make decisions both on behalf of themselves and others; the only difference between treatment and control groups is the order in which they make those decisions. The study includes a second experimental intervention. Specifically, half of the subjects will be randomly-assigned to the "skin in the game" condition. These subjects will receive 10 percent of the earnings of subject on whose behalf they make the decision if the payment task is a DMfO task. The other half of the subjects will make un-incentivized DMfO decisions. Thus, the study is a 2 X 2 designed: DMfO first or DMfO second versus skin-in-the-game condition or no skin-in-the-game condition.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Subjects will be randomized by session. Sessions will be run at Columbia and Santa Clara University. At each university, the first scheduled session will be randomly assigned, by coin toss, to either a decision making on behalf of oneself first or on behalf of another first. Thereafter, the sessions will alternate between decisions on behalf of oneself first and decisions on behalf of others first. We will endeavor to balance the day of the week and start time of the sessions for the two types of sessions.
Randomization Unit
Session. There will be approximately 20 sessions. Each session will have approximately 25 subjects. Approximately 10 sessions will be run at Columbia University and approximately 10 sessions will be run at Santa Clara University.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Approximately 500 subjects randomized into approximately 20 sessions.
Sample size: planned number of observations
Approximately 500 subjects.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Approximately 500 subjects. Approximately 250 subjects will make decisions on behalf of oneself first and approximately 250 subjects will make decisions on behalf of others first. Approximately half of the treatment and control groups will be in the skin-in-the-game condition. The other half of the treatment and control groups will be in the no skin-in-the-game condition.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Sample size: planned number of clusters 20 sessions Sample size: planned number of observations 500 students Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms 10 sessions in which subjects make decisions on behalf of themselves first and 10 sessions in which subjects make decisions on behalf of others first. Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering) The primary outcome is binary. The expected willingness to compete of the sample is 0.5. Thus, we expect the standard deviation of the outcome variables to be 0.5. Based on the above, we conducted a power calculation for the primary comparison (a decision making for self versus other discrepancy in the preference for competition) using the stata command “power twoprop .5, n(500) p(0.8).” The minimum detectable effect size for primary outcome variable = 0.125 (assuming that proportion1 = 0.5, there are 500 observations, and the power is 0.8).
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Santa Clara Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
2019-09-09
IRB Approval Number
19-08-1319
IRB Name
Barnard College IRB
IRB Approval Date
2019-09-30
IRB Approval Number
1920-1110-004
Analysis Plan

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