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Second Phase of Does work effort for public versus private organizations differ? Evidence from an online work task experiment
Last registered on December 22, 2020


Trial Information
General Information
Second Phase of Does work effort for public versus private organizations differ? Evidence from an online work task experiment
Initial registration date
May 12, 2020
Last updated
December 22, 2020 1:45 PM EST

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Primary Investigator
University of Exeter
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation
Additional Trial Information
In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
This is phase two of a project (first phase Title: Does work effort for public versus private organizations differ? Evidence from an online work task experiment RCT ID AEARCTR-0003361).

The overall set of questions of the first and second phase of the project are about whether and how public and private sector organizations differ from each other and the effects of these differences. An important part of this interest are effects on those working for these organizations. Do workers perceive public organizations as different in characteristics, including their goals, than otherwise similar private, for-profit organizations and what are the consequences? We take as a starting point the issue of whether ownership cues that convey information about the organization's ownership status affect people’s perception of organizations and the way they work for them. We conduct an experiment recruiting online workers via Amazon’s crowdsourcing platform Mechanical Turk to address these questions using random allocation of interventions.

The second phase of the project conducts an experiment with the same work task to the first phase, but with an addition intervention prior to this task of providing participants with a treatment reinforcing the information given to them about the ownership (public versus private, for-profit) of the hypothetical organization they are asked to work for. This treatment is hypothesized to increase the salience of the public versus private status difference of the organization by making participants more aware of the organization they are working for, reducing mistakes in the public condition (for more details please see following sections).
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Andersen, Simon , Oliver James and Sebastian Jilke. 2020. "Second Phase of Does work effort for public versus private organizations differ? Evidence from an online work task experiment ." AEA RCT Registry. December 22. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5818-1.1.
Experimental Details
Different forms of work task description in an experiment online for a public or private nursing home (as first phase of study) with additional intervention in second phase of intervention to reinforce information about the ownership status of the organization they work for.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Measure of quality of work task (please see below explanation)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Primary outcome measure is the number of mistakes made by participants in the work task overall. We expect that this outcome will be affected by the ownership status of the organization people are described as working for and the reinforcement of the ownership status to enhance this effect of ownership status.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary outcomes are the time take to complete the work task, the ratio between mistakes and time, and whether they agree to do an additional worksheet (after completing the 7 worksheets), which ought to measure their prosocial work behavior (because they agree to do an additional worksheet for the organization), assuming that this would be higher in public versus for-profit organizations. Measures of this kind are widely used in the literature.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
These additional outcomes are further affected by the interventions.
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
US MTurkers recruited to the study and allocated to different experimental groups
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Subjects will be randomized into one of the study's two arms using Qualtrics’ randomization procedures.
Randomization Unit
Units are individual workers.
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
500 workers
Sample size: planned number of observations
500 workers
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
4 groups (125 individuals in each group). 2 x 2 groups defined by: public organization OR private organization x active reinforcement of ownership status OR passive non-reinforcement of ownership status
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
Institutional Review Board at Aarhus University
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number