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Monetary incentives in recycling programs: a field experiment
Last registered on November 20, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Monetary incentives in recycling programs: a field experiment
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0006702
Initial registration date
November 20, 2020
Last updated
November 20, 2020 12:34 PM EST
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Universitat de les Illes Balears
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Universitat de les Illes Balears
PI Affiliation
Universitat de les Illes Balears
PI Affiliation
Universitat de les Illes Balears
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2020-11-02
End date
2021-04-15
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We designed a randomized field experiment to evaluate the effectiveness of monetary incentives to promote recycling. We can observe individual real time data on bio-waste recycling thanks to the introduction of a system of electronic bins in a Spanish densely populated city. We exploit these data to evaluate the impact of monetary prizes on the incentives to participate in recycling programs. The field-intervention is implemented by a team of environmental educators who has direct interaction with citizens.

In the control group, the probability of winning a monetary prize will be independent of the number of uses of the bio-waste bin. In the treatment group, the probability of winning the prize will depend on the number of weeks that the household has made at least one use of the bin per week. In this way, one group receives economic incentives to recycle while the other does not.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Alonso-Pauli, Eduard et al. 2020. "Monetary incentives in recycling programs: a field experiment." AEA RCT Registry. November 20. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6702-1.0.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We designed a randomized field experiment to evaluate the effectiveness of monetary incentives to promote recycling. The intervention is conducted in a Spanish densely populated city where a system of electronic bins was introduced for separating bio-waste. A team of environmental educators provide information on this bio-waste recycling program and invite citizens to participate in our study. Households that accept to participate in the study are randomly assigned to an incentivized and to a non-incentivized group.

In the control group, the probability of winning a monetary prize will be independent of the number of uses of the bio-waste bin. In the treatment group, the probability of winning the prize will depend on the number of weeks that the household has made at least one use of the bin per week. In this way, one group receives economic incentives to recycle while the other does not.

We will evaluate the treatment effect by exploiting real-time data on the use of bio-waste bins.
Intervention Start Date
2020-11-02
Intervention End Date
2021-03-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Weekly number of bio-waste bin usages
Making at least one usage per week (binary variable)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Complying with at least 2 usages per week (binary variable)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We designed a randomized field experiment to evaluate the effectiveness of monetary incentives to promote recycling. We are exploiting real-time microdata on bio-waste disposal to evaluate the intervention. The field-work is executed by a team of environmental educators who are interacting directly with citizens in a Spanish densely populated city. The educators will be present at different informational points in the area of the study. The educators provide information on the recycling program, provide households wit a free recycling kit, and invite citizens to participate in the study.

Participating households will be randomly assigned to a control group (no monetary incentives) and to a treatment group (monetary incentives). Households are assigned to one of these two groups by order of recruitment in a staggered way. That is, if the first household is assigned to the treatment group, then the second one is assigned to the control group, and so on.

The two treatments are characterized as follows:

(a) Control group (no incentives): By participating in the study, they can win a prize in cash. A total of 5 prizes of € 280 each will be raffled among those who have agreed to participate in the study. The prize draw is completely independent of the use of the bio-waste container. The draw will take place in May 2021.

(b) Treatment group (incentives): By participating in the study, they can win a prize in cash. A total of 5 prizes of € 280 will be raffled among the participants. The prize will be drawn based on the information registered in the system of electronic bins from the moment of the intervention until 15/04/2021. Each week that any card from the household is registered in the bio-waste container system, the household will acquire a ticket for the raffle. The more tickets the household obtains, the higher chance of winning one of the prizes. The draw will take place in May 2021.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Households are recruited when one of its members meets an environmental educator and accepts to participate in the study. Households are assigned in a staggered way to one of the two experimental conditions according to the order of recruitment. That is, if the first household recruited on a given day is assigned to the treatment group, then the subsequent household is assigned to the control group. Households are subsequently assigned to each group according to this logic. This maximizes the balancing between the two groups within the recruitment day.
Randomization Unit
Household level
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Expected: 500 to 2500 households
Sample size: planned number of observations
Expected: 500-2500 households. Given the real time nature of the data collection, we get an observation each time a household member uses the container.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
50% control 50% treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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Documents
Document Name
Informed consent
Document Type
irb_protocol
Document Description
Informed consent sent to the ethical committee of the University of Balearic Islands (In catalan)
File
Informed consent

MD5: 66ad0eadbaa5a070e686fcbaee0edd2d

SHA1: 5dc2e264ccae7228984dbfa6a6ecb7265e881d34

Uploaded At: November 04, 2020

Document Name
Protocol
Document Type
other
Document Description
The document includes
1. Guidelines for the environmental team (in Spanish)
2. Speech protocol for both the treatment and control group: It is an example with the key features that the members of the team should use to brief the subjects about the intervention (in Catalan)
File
Protocol

MD5: 09734607ed98151d7964019d008bc057

SHA1: 91392e753bc6d277fe46546e578fae3af50194c0

Uploaded At: November 04, 2020

IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Comité de Etica de la Investigación
IRB Approval Date
2020-10-08
IRB Approval Number
167CER20