Coronavirus Pandemic Shock, Economic Preferences and Beliefs: An Online Survey Experiment

Last registered on April 21, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Coronavirus Pandemic Shock, Economic Preferences and Beliefs: An Online Survey Experiment
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0005731
Initial registration date
April 18, 2020
Last updated
April 21, 2020, 11:33 AM EDT

Locations

Region
Region
Region
Region
Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Maastricht University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Nuffield College

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2020-05-01
End date
2021-05-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Preferences and beliefs determine individual decision making. A growing body of research suggests that personal experience has a significant impact on these constructs. The diversity and breadth of the COVID-19 pandemic provide a unique, although grime, opportunity to identify the impact of catastrophic experience on economic reasoning and behaviour in both the short and long.

The COVID-19 pandemic has killed over a hundred thousand individuals around the world. For many this pandemic will have a particularly dramatic and gruesome effect because they live in or near one of the many epicentres. Many communities, though, have experienced comparatively minor – and in some cases essentially no – impact from this pandemic. We will explore this heterogeneity in online survey experiments in China, Italy, Chile, India, the UK and the US. We will use 1) geographical discontinuity and 2) “pre-treatment” measures of economic preferences to establish the causal influence of COVID-19 exposure on economic preferences and beliefs.

We will measure two groups of outcome variables. The first group represents the most widely studied economic preferences, namely risk aversion, time discounting and pro-social behaviour. The second group is belief updating, in both health and economic domains. We conjecture that individuals most intensely exposed to the CORVID-19 virus, and the resulting human suffering and deaths, will exhibit significantly different economic preferences and belief updating than those with much lower exposure. Our proposed field experiment is extremely timely and will provide novel insights into the economic aftermath of this tragic event, as well as necessary policy responses.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Duch, Raymond and Peiran Jiao. 2020. "Coronavirus Pandemic Shock, Economic Preferences and Beliefs: An Online Survey Experiment." AEA RCT Registry. April 21. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5731-1.0
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2020-05-01
Intervention End Date
2021-05-01

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
We measure two groups of outcome variables: 1) economic preferences, namely risk aversion, time discounting and pro-social behaviour; 2) belief updating, in both health and economic domains.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
In our survey, we include an information treatment to test how people update belief given new information. We conduct this test in two domains of beliefs, health and economic respectively. In each domain, we provide two types of information, either neutral or positive. After reading the information, subjects are asked a belief question and an action intention question. Each subject gets one type of information in each domain. Each domain treatment is independent and within each domain subjects are randomly assigned to an information treatment.

In the health domain, subjects are randomly assigned to one of the following information vignettes:
Neutral: Some experienced medical scientists have started working on the vaccination for COVID-19.
Positive: Some experienced medical scientists have started working on the vaccination for COVID-19, and they have had a breakthrough finding.

Subjects are then asked about:
Their belief that there could be a COVID outbreak in the following year;
Their intention to get more private health insurance.

In the economic domain, subjects are randomly assigned to one of the following information vignettes:
Neutral: Some economists have studied the economic impact of COVID-19.
Positive: Some economists have studied the economic impact of COVID-19, and predicted that the economy will bounce back in the second half of 2020.

Subjects are then asked about:
Belief about stock market and unemployment in the following year
Intention to invest in financial markets
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization is done within the survey platform, Qualtrics. Before a respondent start the information treatment sections of the survey, the survey platform will randomly draw one treatment to appear.
Randomization Unit
Randomization unit is done among survey respondents within each targeted district of the respective countries.
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
We plan to distribute the survey in 12 provinces in Italy, 10 cities in China and 12 municipalities in Chile.
Sample size: planned number of observations
We plan to collect 150 valid survey responses within each of the targeted districts in each of three countries.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
We will have two information treatments: in each treatment arm within each target district, we will have 75 observations per treatment arm.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
We used the software program G*Power to conduct a power analysis. Our goal was to obtain .95 power at the standard .05 alpha error probability. With a target sample size of 150 participants within each district, we can detect an effect size of 0.42. This means, in terms of the Global Preference Survey time and risk preference measures we use, moving up or down by two deciles on these measures within a country. We also attempt to over-recruit to guarantee 150 valid responses in each district.
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Nuffield CESS Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
2020-04-10
IRB Approval Number
OE_0054
Analysis Plan

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Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
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