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Moral Wiggle Room in Public Good Contributions
Last registered on September 17, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Moral Wiggle Room in Public Good Contributions
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0006128
Initial registration date
September 15, 2020
Last updated
September 17, 2020 8:09 AM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Heidelberg University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Birmingham
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2020-09-18
End date
2020-11-18
Secondary IDs
Abstract
For the provision of healthcare, education, or road maintenance, society relies on the taxes paid by its members. Such services provided by governments are characterised by their non-excludability: once they are in place, all individuals, irrespective of whether they contributed towards it or not, will be able to use them. This leaves room for opportunistic behaviour that is widely studied in public good game studies and ways in which the free-rider problem can be overcome. What happens when citizens believe the government or administration responsible for collecting taxes is corrupt and may embezzle these funds? This would naturally reduce the provision of such services, as lower funds will be available from the governing body. Do taxpayers use this possibility as an ‘excuse’ to reduce even further their contributions towards public goods? We design an experiment to study the extent to which such moral wiggle room may re-inforce the inefficiencies of corruption. By contrasting public good games with or without embezzlement of contributions, we aim to identify whether individuals hide behind ignorance about the efficacy of the public good when choosing to contribute towards it. The experiment comprises of four treatments:

1. Baseline treatment of relatively higher certain returns from public good
2. Baseline treatment of relatively lower certain returns from public good
3. Uncertain returns treatment
4. Embezzlement of contributions treatment.

The design involves a monetary incentivised one-shot public good interaction, a monetary incentivised price list risk attitude elicitation and the social value orientation questionnaire and a brief demographics questionnaire.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Arroyos-Calvera , Danae and Andis Sofianos. 2020. "Moral Wiggle Room in Public Good Contributions." AEA RCT Registry. September 17. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6128-1.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2020-09-18
Intervention End Date
2020-11-18
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Contributions in public good game
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Risk attitudes
Social value orientation (SVO)
Political Orientation
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We design an experiment to study the presence of moral wiggle room in deciding to contribute towards a public good. The experiment comprises of four treatments:

1. Baseline treatment of relatively higher certain returns from public good
2. Baseline treatment of relatively lower certain returns from public good
3. Uncertain returns treatment
4. Embezzlement of contributions treatment.



Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Done by computer
Randomization Unit
Experimental sessions
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
480 online participants
Sample size: planned number of observations
480 online participants
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
120 online participants per treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
University of Birmingham Ethics Board
IRB Approval Date
2020-07-13
IRB Approval Number
ERN 20-1020
IRB Name
German Association for Experimental Economic Research e.V.
IRB Approval Date
2020-07-02
IRB Approval Number
DVtrkfik