How do intentions and outcomes affect reciprocity?

Last registered on May 21, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

How do intentions and outcomes affect reciprocity?
Initial registration date
May 20, 2021

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
May 21, 2021, 9:31 AM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

University of Oregon

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Shanghai University of Finance and Economics

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
The proposed study investigates the underlying mechanism for reciprocal behavior in strategic interactions. Previous experiments have found evidence on reciprocity and many theoretical models have been proposed to capture reciprocity in economics, some of which argue that reciprocity depends on intentions, while others argue that it depends on outcomes. However, how exactly reciprocity depends on intentions and outcomes has not been carefully examined because no previous experiments can clearly tease out the two. This paper attempts to experimentally quantify the importance of intentions and outcomes for determining reciprocal behavior and provides guidance for future modelling.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

He, Simin and JIABIN WU. 2021. "How do intentions and outcomes affect reciprocity?." AEA RCT Registry. May 21.
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
There are two main variables. The first one is a menu of choices chosen by the proposer. The second one is the choice of the receiver in response to the choices of the proposer and the chance event.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
In this experiment, participants will first be randomly matched in pairs and engage in a strategic interaction. First, player 1 can choose between A and B. If player 1 chooses A, player 1 gets x RMB, and player 2 gets y RMB. If player 1 chooses B, both player 1 and player 2 get 2y RMB. x is a number randomly drawn from {y1,y2, y3}, with equal probability. Before the value of x is revealed, player 1 has to determine his/her/their strategy for each possible value of x. For example, player 1’s strategy could be “B if x=y1, and A otherwise.” After player 1 provides a complete strategy to each of the possible value of x, the value of x is revealed, and payoff for both players are finalized according to the strategy of player 1. Note that, when eliciting the complete strategy of player 1 using such a method, player 1 is told that the game is ended after he/she/they makes his/her/their strategy and after number x is drawn. Once the final payoff is realized, player 2 is informed about the complete strategy of player 1 and player 2 in turn can make a choice: player 2 will be asked to allocate z units between player 1 and himself/herself.

At the end of the experiment, the participants will be asked to provide their age, gender and major through a simple questionnaire on the computer screen. This information will be automatically collected into a spreadsheet through a computer program.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
When the subjects are seated, they are randomly matched in pairs by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Individual-level randomization
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
No cluster.
Sample size: planned number of observations
200 subjects.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
There is only one treatment. So sample size is still 200 subjects.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Oregon
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