Boosting Recycling Behaviour Among Urban Households in Peru – A Field Experiment on the Role of Social Norms and Beliefs
Last registered on May 25, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Boosting Recycling Behaviour Among Urban Households in Peru – A Field Experiment on the Role of Social Norms and Beliefs
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0007063
Initial registration date
January 22, 2021
Last updated
May 25, 2021 2:17 AM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
German Development Institute; University of East Anglia
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of East Anglia
PI Affiliation
University of California, Santa Cruz
PI Affiliation
Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
PI Affiliation
University of East Anglia
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2021-01-26
End date
2021-10-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The aim of our study is to understand the role of social norms and individual beliefs about social norms for people’s decision to recycle. In cooperation with a local municipality in Lima, Peru, we will conduct a field experiment using phone surveys to increase sign-up rates to the municipality’s recycling programme. We will make use of different types of social norm information to motivate sign-ups of households, focussing on injunctive and dynamic norm information. We will do so in a 2x2 design, with injunctive norm information on the one side (no/yes) and dynamic norm information on the other side (no/yes), testing both the individual and the combined effect of the two distinct norm messages. Moreover, we will investigate the role of individual pre-treatment beliefs about injunctive and dynamic norms for the response to our information treatments that directly aim at correcting those beliefs. Our primary outcomes of interest will be i) people’s sign-up decision during the phone survey and ii) people’s actual sign-up through the official registration link that they will receive from the municipality shortly after the survey. We are interested in the average treatment effects of our social norm treatment messages as well as heterogeneous treatment effects as a result of individual level belief updating about dynamic and/or injunctive norms, depending on the treatment.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Fuhrmann-Riebel, Hanna et al. 2021. "Boosting Recycling Behaviour Among Urban Households in Peru – A Field Experiment on the Role of Social Norms and Beliefs ." AEA RCT Registry. May 25. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.7063-2.0.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Our intervention aims to increase sign-up rates to the recycling programme of a local municipality in Lima, Peru. The experiment will be conducted via phone surveys, in which participants will be randomly assigned to one of the four treatment groups (see 'Experimental Design' for more details):
- Control group
- Injunctive norm treatment
- Dynamic norm treatment
- Dynamic + injunctive norm treatment
Intervention Start Date
2021-01-26
Intervention End Date
2021-04-30
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our primary outcomes are:
- People's sign-up decision during the phone survey (binary variable)
- People's actual sign-up through the official registration link afterwards (binary variable)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary outcomes are:
- Beliefs about future participation in the recycling programme (7-point Likert-scale)
- Beliefs about personal response efficacy of recycling (7-point Likert-scale)
- Beliefs about collective response efficacy of recycling (7-point Likert-scale)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Our experiment will be conducted via phone surveys through a local survey company. The survey was programmed using the software SurveyCTO.

The protocol for the survey is as follows. Enumerators will start by explaining who they are and that they are conducting a short survey in line with the municipality’s recycling programme. As a first check, enumerators will ask whether the household is already enrolled in the programme, and if so, thank the respondent and end the survey, as we are interested in the households that are not yet part of the programme. If a household is not enrolled yet, enumerators will inform respondents about how the data will be used and that all their answers will be treated confidentially and analysed anonymously. Respondents will then be asked to give their verbal consent to participate in the study. Moreover, respondents will be informed that the survey will take less than 10 minutes and that they can win a prize (one of 15 Falabella gift cards of 50 Soles each) when participating in the study. If the respondent agrees to take part in the study, enumerators will start with the actual survey.

In the first step of the survey, we will elicit people’s pre-treatment beliefs about dynamic and injunctive norms regarding recycling in Miraflores as well as their personal first-order beliefs about the importance of recycling. The beliefs questions are incentivized in the sense that people will be able to win another Falabella gift card of 10 Soles each for each question where their belief will be accurate, in addition to the 50 Soles Falabella gift card they can win for their general participation.
Afterwards, we will collect demographic information about the respondent and the household in general as well as control questions. These general questions also aim to serve as buffer questions between the beliefs questions and the treatment messages, which both focus on the same information (for example, we aim to reduce the potential effect that respondents might still be thinking about the injunctive norm - as they were asked to make a guess about it - when receiving the dynamic norm information in the treatment message, or vice versa).

In the next step, the treatment messages will be conveyed, for which participants will be randomly assigned to one of the four treatment groups based on a 2x2 design, with injunctive norm information on the one side (no/yes) and dynamic norm information on the other side (no/yes). Depending on the treatment group, people will receive

- A (control group): no additional information
- B (injunctive norm treatment): information about how many people think it is important that households participate in the recycling programme
- C (dynamic norm treatment): information about how the number of households participating in the recycling programme has developed over time
- D (dynamic + injunctive norm treatment): information about how the number of households participating in the recycling programme has developed over time + how many people think it is important that households participate in the recycling programme.

The treatment messages will be directly followed by the question whether the household would like to sign up to the recycling programme. The sign-up decision during the survey will be measured as a binary variable (yes/no) and will be our first outcome variable.
After that, we will elicit people’s post-treatment beliefs about future norms in recycling behaviour as well as personal and collective response efficacy. Moreover, we will collect additional control variables that are related to recycling and will therefore be asked after the sign-up decision to not influence the respondents’ decisions and reduce potential experimenter demand effects.
Finally, we will collect the contact details for the household (in case the household wants to sign up to the programme) and inform respondents that they will receive an official registration link from the municipality within the following days. All participants will further be informed that they will be notified whether they won the Falabella gift cards after completion of the data collection.

Over the subsequent weeks following our initial survey, we will then observe whether a household actually signs up to the recycling programme through the official link of the municipality, which will be our second outcome variable (again measured as a binary variable). The official registration link will be sent via email or WhatsApp (depending on the participant’s preference) and will contain the treatment message again to reinforce its strength.

Our analysis will focus on average treatment effects as well as heterogeneous treatment effects as a result of individual level belief updating about dynamic and/or injunctive norms, depending on the treatment.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
The randomization has been programmed within the software SurveyCTO based on a random draw from 0 and 1 that will randomly assign people to one of the four treatment groups with an equal probability.
Randomization Unit
The randomization is performed at the individual level.
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
N/A
Sample size: planned number of observations
We aim for a sample size of around 1,600 participants (surveys) in total.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
We aim for a sample size of around 400 participants (surveys) per treatment group (~400 in control group, ~400 in injunctive norm treatment, ~400 in dynamic norm treatment, ~400 in injunctive + dynamic norm treatment).
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
University of East Anglia International Development Research Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
2020-03-03
IRB Approval Number
N/A
Analysis Plan

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