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Giving social pressure: Costs, motives, and effects
Last registered on October 04, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Giving social pressure: Costs, motives, and effects
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0006364
Initial registration date
August 25, 2020
Last updated
October 04, 2020 8:06 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
UC Berkeley
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2020-09-08
End date
2020-11-03
Secondary IDs
Abstract
While recent studies have found that social pressure can induce people to comply with various norms, little is known about how norms are organically communicated and enforced in everyday life. Anecdotally, when we see someone violate a norm, we are often hesitant to do anything in response. The project measures the incentivized willingness to pay to (not) give social pressure, in the context of college students emailing unregistered peers to register to vote for the 2020 U.S. General Election. Furthermore, it decomposes this cost into Self- (e.g., fear of confrontation) and Other-regarding (e.g., altruism) sources, and examines whether pressuring others increases their chances of registering. These findings are crucial to understand the true welfare costs and effectiveness of policies that aim to use social norms.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Kim, Woojin. 2020. "Giving social pressure: Costs, motives, and effects." AEA RCT Registry. October 04. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6364-1.4000000000000001.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2020-09-08
Intervention End Date
2020-11-03
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
For participants sending email messages:
- Willingness to pay to (not) send the message

For participants receiving email messages:
- Voter registration rate
- Voter turnout rate
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Willingness to pay to (not) send the message will be incentivized using a standard multiple price list mechanism.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
For participants sending email messages:
- Number of words edited from template message

For participants receiving email messages:
- Change in predicted current and final registration rate on their campuses
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
In this study, participants send email messages to their unregistered peers pressuring them to register to vote for the upcoming 2020 U.S. General Election. The experiment elicits the incentivized willingness to pay to (not) send these social pressure messages.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization is conducted by computer.
Randomization Unit
Randomization is at the individual level.
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
1000 participants
Sample size: planned number of observations
1000 participants
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Historically, around 70% of students on these campuses have registered to vote, which would mean 700 registered and 300 unregistered participants in our sample. 25-33% of the registered participants will be assigned to potentially send the control message (informing about local legislative districts), and the rest will be assigned to potentially send the pressure message. To account for attrition on the part of registered senders, slightly more than half of the unregistered participants will be assigned to receive a pressure message about voter registration from another participant.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
If 490 participants are assigned to potentially send the pressure message and the standard deviation in WTP to send a message is $4 (which would be the case if WTP was uniformly random over -$7 to $7), then the minimum detectable cost/value of pressuring with power 0.8 is around $0.55. If the other 210 registered participants are assigned to potentially send the control message, then the difference in WTP between the pressure and control messages is around $0.9. (These are conservative estimates of power since it assumes a high standard deviation and ignores that each registered participant gives three WTP responses, not just one.) The MDE in the voter registration rate among the messaged participants is around 12 pp. if 10% of the 150 unmessaged participants register, and 16 pp. if 50% do. Given such high MDEs, I do not expect to find a significant effect of a message.
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
UC Berkeley Committee for Protection of Human Subjects
IRB Approval Date
2020-09-08
IRB Approval Number
2020-03-13093
Analysis Plan

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