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The Hidden Cost of Nudging: Experimental Evidence on Reminders and Unsubscribing
Last registered on July 06, 2015

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
The Hidden Cost of Nudging: Experimental Evidence on Reminders and Unsubscribing
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0000762
Initial registration date
July 06, 2015
Last updated
July 06, 2015 1:06 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of Gothenburg
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Aarhus University
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2015-07-07
End date
2015-09-14
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Studies of the effects and effectiveness of reminders in economics have documented that reminders can influence behavior in desired ways across a wide variety of settings. However, using a large scale field experiment with a charitable organisation, we document that this may come at a cost because reminders may push some recipients to unsubscribe. We set up a model explaining this finding and test the model's implications using another large scale field experiment.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Damgaard, Mette and Christina Gravert. 2015. "The Hidden Cost of Nudging: Experimental Evidence on Reminders and Unsubscribing." AEA RCT Registry. July 06. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.762-2.0.
Former Citation
Damgaard, Mette and Christina Gravert. 2015. "The Hidden Cost of Nudging: Experimental Evidence on Reminders and Unsubscribing." AEA RCT Registry. July 06. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/762/history/4625.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2015-07-07
Intervention End Date
2015-08-17
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
While the main outcome of interest is the decision to unsubscribe, we also measure how these nudges affect the decision to donate and the amount donated. In addition we look at the answers given to the question asked, when people decide to unsubscribe.




Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Outcome variables:
Decision to unsubscribe (binary)
Decision to donate (binary)
Amount donated, conditional on donating (continuous)
Answer to survey question, conditional on unsubscribing (categorical 1-5)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We will send an e-mail asking for a charitable donation to a project targeting a reduction in food waste to 35,000 newsletter subscribers of Folkekirkens Nødhjælp. The receivers will be randomized into 3 equal sized treatment groups - a baseline to fix beliefs, a treatment to reduce the annoyance of the newsletter and a treatment to increase the option value of staying on the list.
Experimental Design Details
The following sentences were added to a regular solicitation e-mail send by the charity. Since the charity works in Denmark, the original text is in Danish. We provide the English translations here: Control group: Did you know that we currently send you an e-mail approximately once a month? Thank you for supporting our work! Less annoyance group: Did you know that we currently send you an e-mail approximately once a month? In the next 3 months, we will send you just one further e-mail. Thank you for supporting our work! Low cost group: Did you know that we currently send you an e-mail approximately once a month? In the next e-mail a collaborator will donate a healthy school meal to a poor child for every subscriber who donates. Thank you for supporting our work!
Randomization Method
The randomization is done by the computer, creating 3 equal sized groups out of all the subscribers on the mailing list.
Randomization Unit
We can randomize on person level since we don't assume that there will be any spillover effects that we need to control for. No clustering is necessary in this case.
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
No clusters, every person is treated individually with no spillover effects.
Sample size: planned number of observations
35,000 newsletter subscribers will be contacted, but the response rate will likely be at around 4 percent, so 1400 responses.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
11,666 per treatment arm, so 466 responses per arm.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
De videnskapsetiske komitéer for Region Midtjylland (similar to American IRB)
IRB Approval Date
2015-06-30
IRB Approval Number
133/2015
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers