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Training Effective Altruism: Experimental Evidence from Pakistan
Last registered on May 08, 2021


Trial Information
General Information
Training Effective Altruism: Experimental Evidence from Pakistan
Initial registration date
October 22, 2020
Last updated
May 08, 2021 10:42 PM EDT

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Primary Investigator
Toulouse School of Economics
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Lahore School of Economics
PI Affiliation
Aix-Marseille University
Additional Trial Information
In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Empathy is said to be the antidote to in-group bias. In this study we evaluate the causal effects of empathy training on elite civil servants in collaboration with the civil service administration and assess its impact on social preferences, bureaucratic performance, and thought leadership. Recent research suggests that emphasizing malleability of empathy as being key to behavioral change. In a factorial design, we also assess the impacts of emotional intelligence training, the impact of reading material whose content application is assessed via social emotional learning exercises. We also randomize econometrics book (mastering metrics) across the civil servants subject to their selection of the metrics book, where book on empathy serves as a placebo.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Chen, Daniel, Sultan Mehmood and Shaheen Naseer. 2021. "Training Effective Altruism: Experimental Evidence from Pakistan." AEA RCT Registry. May 08. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6655-2.0.
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Experimental Details
In this study, we aim to test whether training in empathy affects civil service quality, measured in terms of social preferences in experimental games, performance on the job, and thought leadership footprint.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Job performance
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Quality of civil service
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Social preference measurements
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Lectures are delivered over zoom and randomized at the individual level. Factorial design: empathy malleable vs. empathy utilitarian vs. both vs. control (focusing on leadership) in online lectures. Class-wide lectures will also be randomized, focusing on emotional intelligence vs. macro-economics lectures
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done by computer
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
200 civil servants
Sample size: planned number of observations
200 civil servants
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
50 in treatment arms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
A single sided power test using as the outcome variable of interest from the pilot of empathy in a list experiment with a mean of 2.319 using one treatment group with 100 observations against a control group with 100 observations at a power .90 and a standard deviation of .920 shows that a minimum detectable effect would be a change of .230 of the standard deviation. The new minimum detectable mean would need to reach 2.53 to be detected.
IRB Name
Lahore School of Economics
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
expected/pending due to covid delay; IRB was approved for February MDE calculation