Encouraging Social Distancing
Last registered on August 26, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Encouraging Social Distancing
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0005612
Initial registration date
March 30, 2020
Last updated
August 26, 2020 5:47 PM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
UC Merced
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
UC Merced
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2020-03-19
End date
2021-08-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We randomly assign economic undergraduate students to three treatment arms: control, information that highlights the personal benefits of social distancing, and information that highlights the externalities (i.e., benefits to others) by socially distancing. Using a pooled-cross sectional analysis, with anonymous survey data before and after receipt of the intervention, we test whether highlighting benefits increased social distancing, and whether information on personal benefits was more or less effective than information on externalities.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Sheth, Ketki and Greg Wright. 2020. "Encouraging Social Distancing." AEA RCT Registry. August 26. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5612-1.2000000000000002.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The intervention is one of two short lecture videos provided by a professor in the economics department at the student's university. The first lecture provides information on the personal benefits for social distancing (and why the true benefits may be higher than perceived benefits), and the second lecture provides information on the externalities of social distancing (and why the total social benefit may be higher than the private benefit). The same framework is used in both videos.
Intervention Start Date
2020-03-25
Intervention End Date
2020-05-09
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Social distancing: Indicator for socially interacting for non-essential reasons in the previous 24 hours; the number of people with which one socially interacted; the length of time one socially interacted. We exclude social interaction with people living in the same home, and interactions for obtaining food, health care, or banking services.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Changes in Beliefs of Covid-19 Impact; Depressive Symptoms; Added Detail on social interaction
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Changes in Beliefs of Covid-19 Impact: Likert scales on the seriousness of Covid-19 infection for younger adults, the effectiveness of social distancing on reducing spread of Covid-19, and the effectiveness of social distancing on reducing economic impact of Covid-19; Expected Unemployment in California in June 2020
Depressive Symptoms: A list of 9 symptoms is given to the subject, and they are asked how many of the symptoms they have experienced in the previous 48 hours.
Added Detail on Social Interaction: Social Interaction for essential services (i.e., food, health care, and banking services), and social interaction for work related purposes.
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We randomly assign economic undergraduate students to three treatment arms: control (basic information on social distancing), information that highlights the personal benefits of social distancing, and information that highlights the externalities (i.e., benefits to others) by socially distancing. Using a pooled-cross sectional analysis, with anonymous survey data before and after receipt of the intervention, we test whether highlighting benefits increased social distancing, and whether information on personal benefits was more or less effective than information on externalities.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done through Catcourses (i.e., Canvas) software in multiple courses in sequential order. For subjects that were in multiple classes, the first randomization status was maintained.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
0
Sample size: planned number of observations
300 to 6000 subjects (individuals)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Expected Sample Size per Treatment Arm is 100 or more.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
UC Merced IRB
IRB Approval Date
2020-03-25
IRB Approval Number
UCM2020-46
Analysis Plan
Analysis Plan Documents
Preanalysis Plan

MD5: 5339bdb82466415d8f5dd3bd347eecdb

SHA1: caeff565c64a104f6a88e592dee5c203b3427729

Uploaded At: March 30, 2020

Preanalysis Plan_updated for panel.docx

MD5: 158c1e50d2340d7efd47c056fc5db40e

SHA1: fdc104a28b25feee47e04fede108cfa9b40a6d61

Uploaded At: April 08, 2020