Trusting Covid-19 recommendations

Last registered on December 13, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

Trusting Covid-19 recommendations
Initial registration date
December 22, 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 23, 2020, 6:44 AM EST

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

Last updated
December 13, 2021, 7:20 AM EST

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



Primary Investigator

Universidad Torcuato Di Tella

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Universidad Nacional de La Plata and University of Nottingham
PI Affiliation
Cornell University

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial is based on or builds upon one or more prior RCTs.
Do individuals trust experts' advice? Does the sector these experts represent matter for trust and compliance? We will answer these questions by means of an online survey on a sample of respondents from Bahamas, Barbados, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, and Uruguay. We will study if opinions on risk-mitigating actions against Covid-19 are shaped by expert recommendations and the sectors they represent.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Bottan, Nicolás, Guillermo Cruces and Maria Lombardi. 2021. "Trusting Covid-19 recommendations." AEA RCT Registry. December 13.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details


Respondents will be given recommendations on 4 actions to avoid the exposure to Covid-19. These recommendations will be framed as coming from an expert, of which we will randomize the type of expert: government expert, private sector expert, academic expect, or an unspecified expert. The recommendations are:
- avoiding social gatherings, as they could lead to the propagation of Covid-19.
- exercising regularly to improve the immune system's response to Covid-19.
- spending a few minutes outside frequently (maintaining social distancing), so as to increase vitamin D levels and thus improve the body's response to Covid-19.
-wearing facemasks to avoid the propagation of Covid-19

We will also provide respondents with another recommendation unrelated to Covid-19, namely to reduce their consumption of meat (for people without nutritional requirements), in order to reduce their environmental impact.

In a follow-up survey (conducted in December 2021), we will repeat the initial intervention (framed in a retrospective manner). We will also ask questions on: (i) perceived costliness/change of following each of the recommendations, and how often they conducted the activities from the recommendations before the pandemic, (ii) social norms around following/not following each of the recommendations, (iii) trust in experts before and after the pandemic, (iv) personality traits (obedience, openness to change, altruism, etc)
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
-Agreement with the expert recommendations (categories in a 5 point likert scale)
-Plans for next week regarding actions described in the expert recommendations
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We will also examine whether there are heterogeneous effects according to: (i) how hard the respondent declares it is to enagage in the expert recommendation, (ii) how much the respondent reports to trust experts, (iii) how frequently they engaged in the actions described by the expert in the week before, (iv) impact of the Covid-19 crisis and outlook about the future of the economy, and (v) perceived compliance of others with health recommendations related to Covid-19, (vi) personality traits (obedience, openness to change, altruism, etc)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Respondents will be randomly divided into 5 groups. In the first four groups, respondents will be shown the recommendations, which will be framed as coming from an expert. We will randomize the type of expert: government expert, private sector expert, academic expect, or an unspecified expert. People in the control group will be asked whether they agreed with the importance of each of these actions, but these will not be framed as expert recommendations.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done by the online survey platform
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
The treatment was not clustered
Sample size: planned number of observations
Approximately 10,000
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Approximately 2,000
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Cornell University Institutional Review Board
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