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Gain versus loss contracts: Does contract framing affect people’s willingness to cooperate?
Last registered on November 06, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Gain versus loss contracts: Does contract framing affect people’s willingness to cooperate?
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004992
Initial registration date
November 06, 2019
Last updated
November 06, 2019 9:05 AM EST
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of Bern
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Bern
PI Affiliation
University of Bern
PI Affiliation
University of Bern
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2019-06-01
End date
2020-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
In a laboratory experiment, we examine whether loss contracts are detrimental to cooperation. In particular, we aim at investigating whether the agent’s experience of a penalty (having to pay back money when not meeting a target) has a negative impact on the willingness to cooperate. In the experiment, participants first perform a real-effort task and then participate in a public goods game. The payment scheme in the real-effort task varies across treatments. More specifically, we implement a gain and a loss contract that are payoff equivalent and only differ in framing. Cooperation is measured as contributions of the agents to a public good.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Essl, Andrea et al. 2019. "Gain versus loss contracts: Does contract framing affect people’s willingness to cooperate?." AEA RCT Registry. November 06. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4992-1.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Participants are randomized at the session level to either the gain or the loss treatment. First, participants work on a real-effort task under either a positively framed gain contract or a negatively framed loss contract. Second, participants play a public goods game where two randomly selected individuals form a group.
Intervention Start Date
2019-11-15
Intervention End Date
2020-04-30
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Contributions to the public goods game. In addition, number of tasks solved in the real-effort task. We will control for individual differences as given by the questionnaire (e.g. CRT).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Lab experiment. Between-subject design. Participants are randomized at the session level to either the gain or the loss treatment. First, participants work on a real-effort task under either a positively framed gain contract or a negatively framed loss contract. Second, participants play a public goods game where two randomly selected individuals form a group. In addition, we elicit individual loss aversion and baseline performance. Finally, participants fill out a non-incentivized questionnaire.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Computer (lab experiment)
Randomization Unit
Experimental session
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
In total about 300 participants
Sample size: planned number of observations
In total about 300 participants
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
About 150 participants per treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number