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Shaping preferences for cooperation in the context of primary education
Last registered on September 23, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Shaping preferences for cooperation in the context of primary education
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004741
Initial registration date
September 22, 2019
Last updated
September 23, 2019 4:07 PM EDT
Location(s)
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of Mainz
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Mainz
PI Affiliation
University of Mainz
PI Affiliation
Leuphana University Lueneburg
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2019-09-23
End date
2020-09-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Our research project focuses on individual preferences for cooperation. It addresses the questions where differences in cooperative behavior stem from and whether and how preferences for cooperation can be influenced. We analyze how the particular style and content of social interaction between teachers and children shape cooperative attitudes on a day-to-day basis within the context of primary education using a randomized controlled trial. In our treatment, coaches providing afternoon childcare at our partner schools engage children in a broad variety of group games and activities explicitly featuring the experience of well-functioning cooperation for a period of eight to nine weeks. The project aims at measuring short- and long-run effects of the treatment and investigating underlying mechanisms.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Hett, Florian et al. 2019. "Shaping preferences for cooperation in the context of primary education." AEA RCT Registry. September 23. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4741-1.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2019-10-14
Intervention End Date
2019-12-13
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our central outcome variable is a child’s preference for cooperation. To measure this, we employ the experimental protocol described and applied in Hermes et al. (forthcoming) (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2018.12.032). As an intermediate outcome variable, we measure perceived norms of cooperation as well as altruism. To do so, we add another stage to the protocol described in that paper, which features a third-party punishment game and a dictator game.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
As additional control variables, we elicit experimental measures for competitiveness, risk preferences, and time preferences. We aim at measuring these outcomes at several points in time: directly before and after the treatment phase, one year after the treatment phase, and also long term.
All our measurement protocols are available on GitHub: https://github.com/jo3rn/oTree-apps and https://github.com/jo3rn/KidsCOOP.
We also elicit a broad set of additional measures by using questionnaires with parents and teachers. The questionnaire files can be found here https://seafile.rlp.net/f/dc460bd0a677493088d7/ (PW: CoopKids) and are also uploaded as a supplement to this document.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Our project consists of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) investigating how the particular style and content of social interaction between teachers and children shapes cooperative attitudes on a day-to-day basis. In our treatment, tutors providing afternoon childcare at our partner schools engage children in a broad variety of group games and activities, which explicitly afford the experience of well-functioning cooperation for a period of eight to nine weeks.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
We first contact schools that have an established afternoon-care system for first graders and ask the schools and subsequently the parents for consent. Then, from the pool of all children taking part in afternoon childcare, we randomly assign children for which we have consent into groups of four or five. Subsequently, we assign the peer groups, stratified on gender composition and the children’s language skills either to the cooperative afternoon childcare program (treatment condition) or to the regular afternoon childcare program (control condition).
Stratification algorithm:
1- Determining the number of treatment groups (4/5 children per group) in a school:
a. Divide total number of children with parental consent in a school by 2.
b. Test whether it is possible to split the halved population into groups of 4 or 5 children. If yes: this determines the number of treatment groups within the school; approximately 50% of the children are part of the treatment condition, while 50% are part of the control condition. If no: formation of a reasonable number of treatment groups within the school; slightly more than 50% of the children are part of the treatment condition; while slightly less than 50% are part of the control condition. [Example 1: 20 children in a school, 10 in the treatment condition, 10 in the control condition, 2 treatment groups with 5 children each. Example 2: 23 children in a school; 12 in the treatment condition, 11 in the control condition; 3 treatment groups with 4 children each.]
2- Determining the number of children per stratification cell: Determine the number of children within each of the four cells: “Girl, German-speaking household”, “Boy, German-speaking household”, “Girl, Foreign first language household”, “Boy, Foreign first language household”.
3- Assignment of children to the treatment/control condition:
a. The relation between the number of treatment and control condition children (1b) determines the assignment of children to T/C for each of the 4 stratification cells. In the balanced case, 50% of the children in each cell are assigned to the treatment/control condition. In the unbalanced case, a lot determines which of the 4 stratification cells comprises a higher share of treatment/control children in order to reach the number of observations per experimental condition as determined in 1b.
b. Once we know the number of children per stratification cell who should be assigned to either the treatment or control condition, each child is randomly assigned to one of the two conditions by drawing lots.
4- Assignment of children to the treatment groups: depending on the number of treatment groups in a school, all children who were randomly assigned to the treatment condition in 3b are now randomly assigned to the specific treatment groups by drawing lots.
Randomization Unit
See above and below
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
About 20 schools and we would expect to have about 9 clusters (groups of five) per school, i.e. 180 clusters in total.
Sample size: planned number of observations
Our targeted number of observations is 900 children, ideally 450 in the treatment and 450 in the control group. This would correspond to about 20 schools and we would expect to have about 9 clusters (groups of five) per school, i.e. 180 clusters in total.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Our targeted number of observations is 900 children, ideally 450 in the treatment and 450 in the control group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Our targeted number of observations is 900 children, ideally 450 in the treatment and 450 in the control group. This would correspond to about 20 schools and we would expect to have about 9 clusters (groups of five) per school, i.e. 180 clusters in total. This clustered randomized design with person-level outcomes allows detecting an effect size of 0.4 standard deviations with approximately 80% power, if all children in a cluster come from the same school class. Given that we randomly assign children into groups of five (i.e. regardless of whether they are from the same class or not, they only have to be from the same school, see above), our power will be higher than 80%. On the other hand, if we need more than 20 schools to reach the targeted sample size, power might also decrease.
Supporting Documents and Materials

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Request Information
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Ethikkommission des Fachbereichs Rechts- und Wirtschaftswissenschaften University of Mainz
IRB Approval Date
2019-06-16
IRB Approval Number
N/A
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, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS