Analyzing learning under ambiguity

Last registered on September 02, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Analyzing learning under ambiguity
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0007747
Initial registration date
September 01, 2021
Last updated
September 02, 2021, 11:06 AM EDT

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Paderborn University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Oxford Brookes Business School

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2021-09-12
End date
2021-12-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
This project aims to better understand under which conditions people use social information to learn and imitate others. In many situations, people can either follow their own signals or follow a social signal. Depending on the quality of the signals one might be more informative than the other. We are interested in what happens if both the private and the social signals become less informative. In the real world, this can be the case in situations where information is ambiguous. This paper investigates whether people in such situations are more likely to follow the social signal. To answer this question we conduct an experimental study that observes whether people are prone to imitate in a risky or in an ambiguous environment.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Bopp, Fabian and Sara Le Roux. 2021. "Analyzing learning under ambiguity." AEA RCT Registry. September 02. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.7747-1.0
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
In the study, we vary the degree of ambiguity in a binary choice. By doing this we create an ambiguous environment and a risk environment and observe the environmental effects on social learning. To create an ambiguous environment, we vary the presentation of lottery tickets, which are at the core of the experiment.
Intervention Start Date
2021-09-12
Intervention End Date
2021-12-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Revision after learning the majority choices in the group. (Revise/ Not revise)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Subjects make a binary choice between two options. We are interested in whether they revise their choice more likely depending on the environment.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Subjects have to repeatedly make a choice between two lotteries. We use the lottery design of Cooper and Rege (2011) as a graphical illustration of a lottery. In our study, the lotteries differ in the characteristic. Our intervention is the level of ambiguity. In an unambiguous environment, the characteristics of the lottery tickets are fairly easy to observe. In an ambiguous environment, the characteristics are harder to learn. After deciding on one of the tickets subjects learn what other subjects in their group have done and can revise the decision. This allows us to observe, whether subjects use this group information for social learning and revise their choice and whether this behavior is affected by the level of ambiguity in the environment,
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization of the treatments is done on an individual level by the computer.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
1 (not clustered)
Sample size: planned number of observations
420 subjects
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Half of the subjects in each treatment arm. =210 individuals
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Ethics commission (Paderborn University)
IRB Approval Date
2021-06-01
IRB Approval Number
N/A