A Laugh and a Burst of Kindness: The Impact of Comedy on Altruistic Behavior in Rural Nepal

Last registered on December 10, 2020


Trial Information

General Information

A Laugh and a Burst of Kindness: The Impact of Comedy on Altruistic Behavior in Rural Nepal
Initial registration date
December 09, 2020

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
December 09, 2020, 10:53 AM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
December 10, 2020, 12:55 AM EST

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.


Primary Investigator

Hiroshima University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Hiroshima University
PI Affiliation
Hiroshima University
PI Affiliation

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Altruistic behavior plays a crucial role in the enhancement of spontaneous transfer of goods. This behavior is even more important in developing countries, where government assistance is low and precautionary savings are almost null. Moreover, our study is located in an extremely marginalized and inaccessible area of Nepal, where villagers cannot always rely on external aid. We conducted a randomized controlled trial, where we display either a comedy or a neutral video clip to villagers. Then, villagers played the dictator game: they receive cash and get the opportunity to share their cash to an anonymous villager in the community. We show that the comedy group became more altruistic compared to the placebo group. Moreover, an analogous result holds true when measuring the effect of participants' own perception of how funny the video was.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Caro-Burnett, Johann et al. 2020. "A Laugh and a Burst of Kindness: The Impact of Comedy on Altruistic Behavior in Rural Nepal." AEA RCT Registry. December 10. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6875
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Human Altruism
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
It is measured through the dictator game. In particular, how much do the respondents willing to share from the amount of money they received as the endowment to a third anonymous person from the same village.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We predetermined the required sample size by using information from our pilot study, we calculated that (with an expected ATE of 8, a standard deviation of 30, power of 80%, and a significance level of 5%) the minimum sample size of 441 was required. By purposively selected two VDCs from the far-eastern mountainous district, Taplejung, Nepal, we randomly selected five wards out of nine available (excluding the inaccessible wards that might be dangerous for our investigator due to sudden landslides) to cover the minimum required sample size. The population size of each ward was obtained from the Government of Nepal’s National Planning Commission Secretariat Central Bureau of Statistics.

The data collection was performed on a house to house basis. We visited each household and ask for only one representative.

Firstly, we get the informed consent from the representative about he/she is going to participate in a survey conducted by Hiroshima University about the livelihood of rural residents in Taplejung District.
Next, We show the participant the randomized video (either Comedy or Neutral) using the Microsoft Surface tablet.

Immediately after the video shows, we conduct a dictator game experiment using real money (Nepali Rupees/NPR) to the participant. We explain the game procedures to the participant and confirmed that he/she understood the contents. We only allowed the participant to play the game once.
The participant is given 80 NPR in cash. He/she was able to share 0, 20, 40, 60, or 80 NRP to an anonymous ‘next player’ in the same ward. He/She was being informed that any amount shared towards the next player would be doubled. After he/she decides on how much to share, he/she will receive double of the amount shared from the ‘previous player.’ The shared money was assigned by a spatial lag of two households.

During the whole procedure, we try to ensure the participant is alone and only accompanied by one of our investigators to keep their decision-making anonymous to other household members.

Lastly, the participant was asked to fill in a questionnaire survey. Due to many of our participants were illiterate, the participant was being asked verbally for each of the questions and the paper-based questionnaire is filled by our investigator.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
The randomization of wards (sampling method) was done using the excel RAND function with the list of wards. While the intervention (video) was done in sequences of the alternate household. Eg, the first household was allocated to comedy(treatment), the second household would be neutral (control), and so on.
Randomization Unit
Individual randomization
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
5 wards
Sample size: planned number of observations
441 individual
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
221 individual comedy video, 221 individual neutral video
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
With an expected ATE of 8, a standard deviation of 30, a power of 80%, and a significance level of 5%, a minimum sample size of 441 individuals is required.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
The Ethics Committee of Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation
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