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How Public Service Motivation and User Orientation Moderate the Deservingness Heuristic: Evidence from a Conjoint Analysis Experimental Design
Last registered on May 19, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
How Public Service Motivation and User Orientation Moderate the Deservingness Heuristic: Evidence from a Conjoint Analysis Experimental Design
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0005835
Initial registration date
May 19, 2020
Last updated
May 19, 2020 2:00 PM EDT
Location(s)
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of Copenhagen, Department of Political Science
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2020-06-01
End date
2020-06-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
What role does front-line workers' motivation play in known heuristics affecting their decision making with clients? Will different types of motivation, for example, reduce or increase biases and discrimination?

Previous research suggests that when front-line workers face deservingness relevant cues in interaction with clients a psychological `deservingness heuristic' is triggered causing front-line workers to think about their decisions in terms of who deserves help - disregarding recognized legal or political standards. At the same time, another stream of research stresses the behavioral consequences of front-line workers' own motivation. However, little attention has been paid to how these dynamics relate to one another.

This study argues that front-line workers' inner motivation will moderate the degree of this known heuristic. The study argues that while one
form of motivation, aimed at benefi ting society as a whole, will decrease the influence of the deservingness heuristic, another form of motivation, aimed at benefi ting the individual client, will in fact increase it.

The study examines this claim by drawing on data from a conjoint experiment embedded in a large-scale survey among Danish social workers. This makes it possible for the study to estimate the moderating effect of motivation across several categories of deservingness cues identifi ed in the literature.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Hansen, Paw. 2020. "How Public Service Motivation and User Orientation Moderate the Deservingness Heuristic: Evidence from a Conjoint Analysis Experimental Design." AEA RCT Registry. May 19. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5835-1.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The intervention consists of manipulation of information cues regarding client characteristics in an online survey among Danish social workers.
Intervention Start Date
2020-06-01
Intervention End Date
2020-06-30
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Social workers willingness to sanction clients on an 11-point scale.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The study involves an individually randomized trial - building on survey data. The experiment is carried out among a nonprobability
sample of Danish social workers.

All survey respondents are first presented with an introductory text identical across experimental conditions. Then, respondents are presented with descriptions of three fictive clients, one by one, and asked if they would sanction in each of the given cases. The descriptions of clients is randomized using a conjoint approach drawing randomly from a pool of information cues (client characteristics).
Experimental Design Details
The study involves an individually randomized trial - building on survey data. The experiment is carried out among a nonprobability sample of Danish social workers. All survey respondents are first presented with an introductory text identical across experimental conditions. Then, respondents are presented with descriptions of three fictive clients and asked if they would sanction in each of the given cases. The descriptions of clients is randomized using a conjoint approach drawing randomly from a pool of information cues (client characteristics): age, length of unemployment, years of working experience, previous job type, reason for loss of job, civil status, whether they seem motivated to find a new job and whether they have been sanctioned before.
Randomization Method
Randomization is carried out by simple randomization by computer.
Randomization Unit
Individual survey respondent.
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
300 individual respondents.
Sample size: planned number of observations
300 individual respondents each making decisions about 3 fictive clients = 900 observations in total.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Approx. 450 individual respondents in each of the two treatment arms.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Under the assumption of 450 valid responses and balanced groups, the study is powered to enable detecting of effects of f > .11 with high statistical power (Power = .90; alpha = .05, one-way ANOVA).
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is 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