To give or not to give. Explaining earnings choices in an online labour market experiment.

Last registered on October 15, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
To give or not to give. Explaining earnings choices in an online labour market experiment.
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008345
Initial registration date
October 11, 2021
Last updated
October 15, 2021, 11:51 AM EDT

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Oslo

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Oslo

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2021-10-12
End date
2021-10-25
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
We run an experimental study on the online labour market Prolific. Allowing for one-sided earnings choices after joint production in pairs, we investigate drivers of giving behaviour by varying the level of hierarchy and connectedness stakeholders experience in the experiment. To measure the effect of hierarchy for giving, we compare choices under boss-assisstant to co-worker vignettes. We also compare co-worker vs. neutral vignettes to measure the effect of connectedness on giving.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Knutsen, Tora and Sonja Kovacevic. 2021. "To give or not to give. Explaining earnings choices in an online labour market experiment.." AEA RCT Registry. October 15. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8345-1.0
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
We invite participants on the online platform Prolific to participate in a study. In this study, participants are working on an effort task, get matched into pairs and some participant get randomly selected to split earnings within pairs.
Within the group of (randomly chosen) deciders, we randomly vary how we describe the person they are matched with. In the hierarchy treatment the decider is referred to as the boss and the other participant as the assistant. In the connected treatment, both participants are called co-workers. In the neutral treatment, the decider learns about the other participant only after completing the task and the instructions do not contain words like "match" or "pair" that could generate connectedness perceptions.
We study behaviour differences across these treatment conditions.
Intervention Start Date
2021-10-12
Intervention End Date
2021-10-21

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Share of bonus taken by deciders. This is a percentage of the 2£ bonus available in each pair of participants.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Participants in each of the three "decider" conditions, as well as in the "dictator game benchmark" condition choose their share of the bonus on a slider. The slider allows to choose all numbers from 0 to 100 percent in 1 percent increments.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Messages from the deciders in the boss and co-worker treatments and explanations of earnings choices for the deciders (free text).
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Detailed explanation in the .pdf attached to this pre-plan.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We conduct our experiment on the online platform Prolific, where we randomize one of the participants to decide about earnings in that pair. Each pair receives a bonus and the decider can take the whole bonus for him/herself or allocate a portion or the whole bonus to the receiver. The receiver cannot review or change this decision in any way, so that strategic considerations should not play a role for the decider.

The treatment consists of three different vignettes, randomly shown to the deciders. The first vignette addresses the decider as the boss and names the other player the assistant, the second vignette refers to both players as co-workers, while the third vignette minimizes references to the other player to reduce connectedness. After receiving this information regarding their respective roles, participants work 5 minutes on a task. This task consists of counting the number of 0's. On completing the tasks, deciders learn their relative performance in the pair and make their decision about the bonus.
Experimental Design Details
We conduct our experiment on the online platform Prolific, recruiting participants to a study called ``Work on a task and earn a bonus". Participants in the experiment are matched in pairs, where we randomize one of the participants to decide about earnings in that pair. Each pair receives a bonus of 2£, and the decider can take the whole bonus for him/herself or allocate a portion or the whole bonus to the receiver. The receiver cannot review or change this decision in any way, so that strategic considerations should not play a role for the decider.

We randomize participants into treatments according to the (random) order in which they enter the experiment. The treatment consists of three different vignettes, randomly shown to the deciders. The first vignette addresses the decider as the boss and names the other player the assistant, the second vignette refers to both players as co-workers, while the third vignette minimizes references to the other player to reduce connectedness.
Thus, this experiment consists of two main groups: Deciders and non-deciders. The deciders are randomly split into three treatment conditions: 1)Boss, 2)Co-worker and 3)Neutral. After receiving this information regarding their respective roles, participants work 5 minutes on a task. This task consists of counting the number of 0's. On completing the tasks, deciders learn their relative performance in the pair and make their decision about the bonus. The different stages in the experiment are explained in detail in the .pdf file attached to this preplan.
Randomization Method
We randomize participants by their incoming player number in Prolific to the different treatments. This way, both participants entering early or late will be balanced across the different treatment conditions.
Randomization Unit
Individual participants on Prolific.
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
4214
Sample size: planned number of observations
4214 This is the maximum number of observations we can realize. This number may go down, if we have dropouts in our study. Dropouts will not get paid so that we can in principle recruit new participants to replace them. However, partners of dropped out participants will receive their participation fee (but not the bonus), so that the number of observations will decrease in dropouts, but at a rate of less than 1. Additionally, if inflow of participants to Prolific should be very slow, we may have to increase the participation fee which would also reduce the number of observations. In both cases, we will reduce observations symmetrically across treatments, so that each of our three treatment arms for the deciders are of the same size and that we maintain equal numbers of deciders and non-deciders. This is also a necessity given that people are matched in pairs and only one participant per pair can decide.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
- 100 participants in the dictator game benchmark for external validity
- 2057 will be non-deciders who only serve to be decided on
- 2057 will be deciders, with 685 in each of the three decider treatments:
--> 685 bosses
--> 685 co-workers
--> 685 neutral (non-connected) deciders.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials