NEW UPDATE: Completed trials may now upload and register supplementary documents (e.g. null results reports, populated pre-analysis plans, or post-trial results reports) in the Post Trial section under Reports, Papers, & Other Materials.
Is there a link between wealth inequality and deception? – An experimental analysis of different subject pools
Last registered on June 04, 2020


Trial Information
General Information
Is there a link between wealth inequality and deception? – An experimental analysis of different subject pools
Initial registration date
February 05, 2020
Last updated
June 04, 2020 10:19 PM EDT
Primary Investigator
Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
German Research Foundation (DFG, German Research Foundation) –388911356.
This paper investigates experimentally the relationship between inequality in initial wealth and deception. Our basic design is adopted from Gneezy (2005): two players interact in a deception game. It is common knowledge that player 1 has private information about the payoffs for both players of two alternative actions. Player 1 sends a message to player 2, indicating which alternative putatively will end up in a higher payoff for player 2. The message, which can either be true or false, does not affect the payoffs of the players. Player 2 has no information about the payoffs. However, player 2 selects one of the two alternatives A or B, which is payoff-relevant for both players. We extend Gneezy (2005) by two elements. First, we systematically vary the initial wealth of the players 1 and 2 (common knowledge to both of them). Second, we do not limit ourselves to the standard population of university students but also recruit chess players that are not enrolled in any degree program. Doing so, we want to find out if our results remain robust over a non-standard subject population which is known to be experienced to some extent in strategic interactions.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Gruener, Sven. 2020. "Is there a link between wealth inequality and deception? – An experimental analysis of different subject pools ." AEA RCT Registry. June 04. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5399-1.1.
Experimental Details
We extend the basic idea of Gneezy’s (2005) design to systematic variations in wealth. Altogether, we examine 3 scenarios (1 reference scenario and 2 treatment scenarios; Table 2). While there is no variation of the initial wealth in the reference scenario (both players have €0 initial wealth), treatment 1 provides player 1 with a surplus in initial wealth and treatment 2 provides player 2 a surplus. Player 1 and player 2 know that the initial wealth in the respective treatments is common knowledge to both players.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Primary outcome variables: Depending on the role of the experimental subject (either player 1 or player 2), the key variable of interest is either “decision player 1” (honest/dishonest message) or “decision player 2” (follow/not follow message).
We are mostly interested in the behavioral influence of the treatments on these primary outcome variables.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The basic structure of the experiment is adopted from Gneezy’s (2005) 2-person deception game. Two players play against each other in a one-shot experiment. We extend the basic idea of Gneezy’s (2005) design to systematic variations in wealth as well as a comparison of students and chess players.
Experimental Design Details
--> Complete Design is attached as a separate file.
Randomization Method
Subjects are equally likely to be part of one of the treatments. Randomization is done by the software which we use.
Randomization Unit
Subjects are randomly assigned to one treatment. Thus, individual is our randomization unit.
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
We have 6 treatments (chess players) and 6 treatments (students); we do not cluster them.
Sample size: planned number of observations
We observe the decisions of N=360 subjects in a one-shot experiment.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
 We plan to recruit N=180 students and N=180 non-student chess-players. The total number of subjects per scenario and population (N=30) results from budget constraints.
 Uncertainty about the success in recruiting non-students: we are ex-ante not sure if a sufficient number of non-student chess players could be recruited or if the spectrum of non-students has to be extended to subjects that are not playing chess in a club.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials
Document Name
Document Type
Document Description

MD5: 2235c60732f47ea2351c7e3ca1139618

SHA1: fc52eb911dc4507c257c5f95e6d973a1bff28d9c

Uploaded At: February 05, 2020

Document Name
Experimental Design
Document Type
Document Description
Experimental Design

MD5: ed795cdff8f8694f36e2b0fa09fba2fa

SHA1: cd1d1b754eec0282d282d178c14a545837505791

Uploaded At: February 05, 2020

IRB Name
German Association for Experimental Economic Research e.V.
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan
Analysis Plan Documents
Research questions analysis plan.pdf

MD5: 8e1487d26ad687fd4bd8c041ab4ac5c4

SHA1: 8940e4d1a0c30476863287df2c6374072e3cef0b

Uploaded At: February 05, 2020

Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
March 11, 2020, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Data Collection Completion Date
March 11, 2020, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
two subject groups were randomly assigned to 6 treatments
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
N=360 subjects (180 students, 180 non-student chess-players)
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
6 Treatments, 60 subjects per treatment (equally distributed among students and non-student chess-players)
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?

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

Request Information
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)
Gruener, S., & Khassine, I. (2020, April 6). Is there a link between endowment inequality and deception? – An experimental analysis of different subject pools. https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/rmzn4