Risk Exposure and Attention to the Macroeconomy

Last registered on August 03, 2020


Trial Information

General Information

Risk Exposure and Attention to the Macroeconomy
Initial registration date
July 31, 2020
Last updated
August 03, 2020, 12:33 PM EDT



Primary Investigator

University of Warwick

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
A basic premise of models of rational inattention is that people’s demand for information depends on the expected benefits of getting informed. We test this premise using an experiment with a sample of the US population. In the experiment We examine how people’s beliefs about their personal exposure to macroeconomic risk during recessions causally affect their demand for macroeconomic forecasts about the likelihood of a recession. Households who learn that they are more strongly exposed to unemployment risk during recessions increase their demand for macroeconomic forecasts about the likelihood of a recession, consistent with the predictions of rational inattention models.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Roth, Christopher, Sonja Settele and Johannes Wohlfart. 2020. "Risk Exposure and Attention to the Macroeconomy." AEA RCT Registry. August 03. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6253-1.0
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Demand for forecast about the likelihood of a recession.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The experiment proceeds as follows: First, we measure people's beliefs about the effect of the Great Recession in 2009 on the unemployment rate among people who have similar characteristics to them. We then generate exogenous variation in perceptions of exposure to macroeconomic risk by providing the respondents with data on actual changes in the unemployment rate among people similar to them over the Great Recession. While some respondents receive data from the American Community Survey, others receive data from the Current Population Survey, which differ due to sampling variation and procedural differences. Thereafter, we measure people's perceptions of how exposed they personally are to unemployment risk during recessions. Finally, we measure people's demand for receiving one of four different macroeconomic forecasts including forecasts about inflation, government spending, the return on government bonds and the likelihood of a recession.

Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Apprxoximately 1000
Sample size: planned number of observations
Apprxoximately 1000
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Half respondents receive info from ACS, while the other half receives info from the CPS
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials