Trust in institutions and consequentiality perceptions in a stated preference survey
Last registered on June 07, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Trust in institutions and consequentiality perceptions in a stated preference survey
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0007213
Initial registration date
June 04, 2021
Last updated
June 07, 2021 12:01 PM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of Kassel
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Kassel
PI Affiliation
University of Warsaw
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2021-05-28
End date
2021-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Inducing respondents to truthfully reveal their preferences in stated preference valuation requires that they believe their survey responses can translate into real-life consequences, i.e. they believe their responses are consequential. The existing approaches for measuring respondents’ perceptions of the consequentiality of the survey are not incentivized and, thus, may lead to dishonest or careless answers to the belief elicitation questions. We address this issue by incentivizing the measurement of consequentiality perceptions in a discrete choice experiment concerning preferences towards private retirement policies to induce respondents to answer the perception elicitation questions honestly and carefully. The incentivization mechanism relies on the approach of choice-matching proposed by Cvitanić et al. (2019, AER: Insights, 1(2), 179-192). We use the incentivized perceptions over consequentiality to examine a recent finding in stated preference literature that the perceptions may depend on the degree of individuals’ trust in institutions that are responsible for implementing the policies in question. We assess whether trust in institutions affects consequentiality beliefs by using two priming treatments, one meant to temporarily increase individual trustfulness compared to a control condition and the other meant to temporarily decrease individual trustfulness compared to a control condition.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Engler, Daniel, Gunnar Gutsche and Ewa Zawojska. 2021. "Trust in institutions and consequentiality perceptions in a stated preference survey." AEA RCT Registry. June 07. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.7213-2.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
In total, we have three experimental conditions/groups: high trust, low trust, and control.

We use an open question to prime high trust in institutions. The question text is as follows:
"We ask you to recall a situation in which you dealt with authorities (such as the local government, the police, or the government) and in which you felt that they meant well, did their best to help you, and took your concerns seriously. In short, a situation where the authorities were trustworthy. In the box below, write down what you experienced and how you felt about this situation."

We use an open question to prime low trust in institutions. The question text is as follows:
"We ask you to recall a situation in which you dealt with authorities (such as the local government, the police, or the government) and in which you did not feel that these authorities meant well with you, did not do their best to help you, and did not take your concerns seriously. In short, a situation where the authorities were not trustworthy. In the box below, write down what you experienced and how you felt about this situation."

The control group does not answer an additional question.
Intervention Start Date
2021-05-28
Intervention End Date
2021-06-21
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Discrete choice experiment among two alternatives with four attributes: Type of registration (qualitative, 2 levels: automatic/non-automatic), Asset management (qualitative, 2 levels: state/private), Degree of compliance with EU taxonomy (quantitative, interval between 0% and 100%), Additional tax for your household (quantitative, 0.05% to 0.75% of annual household income).
1: The corresponding variable "choice" takes the value 1 for the chosen alternative and 0 for the alternative that was not chosen. We are mainly interested in the willingness to pay for the degree of compliance with EU taxonomy that is estimated using discrete choice models (especially mixed logit models) in willingness to pay space (cost attribute: additional tax for your household).

2: Policy consequentiality measured on an ordinal scale with the question "My answers in this survey will have an impact on whether or not the new voluntary pension scheme is adopted." with five ordered answer categories "do not agree at all", "rather do not agree", "undecided", "rather agree", and "strongly agree". The corresponding variable "policy consequentiality" thus takes the values 1, 2, ..., 5.

3: Payment consequentiality measured on an ordinal scale with the question "If it is decided to introduce the new voluntary pension scheme, I believe I will have to pay the corresponding tax for it." with five ordered answer categories "do not agree at all", "rather do not agree", "undecided", "rather agree", and "strongly agree". The corresponding variable "payment consequentiality" thus takes the values 1, 2, ..., 5.

4: Perceived policy consequentiality of other respondents measured with the question: "Please indicate the percentage of respondents to this survey who rather agreed or strongly agreed with the following statement: My answers in this survey will have an impact on whether or not the new voluntary pension scheme is adopted", with answers ranging from 0% to 100%. The corresponding variable "perceived policy consequentiality of others" thus ranges between 0 and 1.

5: Perceived payment consequentiality of other respondents measured with the question: "Please indicate the percentage of respondents to this survey who rather agreed or strongly agreed with the following statement: If it is decided to introduce the new voluntary pension scheme, I believe I will have to pay the corresponding tax for it", with answers ranging from 0% to 100%. The corresponding variable "perceived payment consequentiality of others" thus ranges between 0 and 1.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Manipulation checks to assess whether the trust priming treatments did work:
Word stem completion test for all three groups (control, low trust, high trust). Participants complete the three words (German/Polish) Ger____ / Spr____ ("Gerechtigkeit"/"Sprawiedliwość", Justice), Ehr___/Ucz___ ("Ehrlichkeit"/"Uczciwość", Honesty), and Miss___/Nie___ ("Misstrauen"/"Nieufność", Mistrust). For each group, we count the number of "correct" word completions, i.e. either the word as expected above or other forms (inflections/grammatical forms/combinations with other words/synonyms/…) of the word according to an official dictionary. We also correct for spelling errors.

We measure trust in scientists, trust in politicians, and trust in financial professionals on an ordinal scale with five answer categories ("Do not agree at all", "Do rather not agree", "I am undecided", "Do rather agree", "Fully agree") for all three groups after the treatments. The corresponding variables "trust in scientists", "trust in politicians", and "trust in financial professionals" thus take the values 1, 2, ..., 5, respectively.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We examine a discrete choice experiment that is embedded into an online survey. Prior to the discrete choice experiment, respondents are randomly assigned to three conditions (high trust priming treatment group, low trust priming treatment group, and control group) in each country. After the discrete choice experiment, respondents are asked for their own perception of how consequential they think their answers in the discrete choice experiment will be, and how they think other respondents in the survey answer to the consequentiality questions.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Respondents are randomly assigned to the three groups with equal probability and without their knowledge by the survey questionnaire software (simple randomization).
Randomization Unit
Unit of randomization for the trust priming treatments: individuals
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
2 countries (Germany and Poland)
Sample size: planned number of observations
2000 individuals overall, 1000 in Germany and Poland each
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
800 individuals in control (400 in each country), 600 individuals in high trust treatment (300 in each country), 600 individuals in low trust treatment (300 in each country)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Central ethics committee University of Kassel
IRB Approval Date
2020-10-05
IRB Approval Number
zEK-11