We recruit a representative UK sample via Prolific in the role of sellers. During the study, these UK participants will evaluate the extent to which they agree with the statement, “Foreign countries should stop meddling in the internal affairs of China in the name of human rights, when other countries also confront similar issues. Whether China respects the rights of its own people can only be evaluated from its own citizens’ perspective and by its own standards”.
We plan to implement two treatment conditions, one market treatment condition and one non-market condition. In the market condition, the UK participants will sell a virtual gift card that is worth 10 Pounds to a random Chinese consumer that we separately recruit. In the non-market condition, such exchange opportunity does not exist. Note that, in both conditions, the UK participants’ responses to the statement, as well the content of the statement itself, will be translated into Chinese and disclosed to a random Chinese individual. Importantly, UK participants are aware of the upcoming disclosure (and the market activity in the Market condition) when expressing their views to the statement. Our main hypothesis is that UK participants will shift their response to the statement in a direction that caters to Chinese consumers in the market condition, relative to the non-market condition.
UK participants’ choices will then be matched with Chinese participants that we separately recruit from mainland China through Tencent. These Chinese participants will view each possible response to the statement, and will make decisions for the market activity based on each possible response. That is, they will first decide if they are willing to trade with a seller with a given view at all, and if yes, they will report a maximum willingness-to-pay conditional on that view. Afterward, one of their choices will be randomly selected to count. We hypothesize a strong first stage in both Chinese consumers' willingness-to-trade and willingness-to-pay decisions. In particular, they will be more likely to trade with sellers who agree with the statement. Accordingly, they will also be willing to pay higher prices to those who agree with the statement.
At the end of the experiment among UK participants, we also collect beliefs regarding how Chinese consumers’ react to different responses to the statement, personal attitudes towards China, etc. We also elicit UK participants’ value in an incentivized manner by asking them to allocate a donation of 1 Pound on their behalf between Human Rights Watch, an NGO that promotes human rights, and Confucius Institute, a state-funded organization that promotes Chinese culture. All these additional choices will remain private and not disclosed to Chinese participants. While we have no ex ante predictions on these secondary variables, we will analyze them for exploratory purposes.