We recruit the participants in the role of Social Architects or Recipients. In the main task, Social Architects face 6 decision screens. In each decision screen, they face a different pair of Recipients (Recipient i and Recipient j) and have to decide how to allocate some money between them. A Social Architect faces a ``staircase" with 4 questions within each Decision Screen. In each question, the Social Architect has to indicate whether she prefers a Constant reform or a Variable reform. The Constant reform option takes $500 away from Recipient j and gives $500 to Recipient i. The variable Reform option takes away $t from Recipient j and gives $pt to Recipient i.
The four questions that Social Architects are selected from a set of 15 questions based on the staircase procedure. The first question that Social Architects face is common for all Social Architects. The second, third, and fourth questions that Social Architects face depend on the choices that the Social Architects made in the first, second, and third questions respectively. In each decision screen, we take the Social Architects' choices in the fourth question to identify the relative weight (the value of p) they assign to the two Recipients. The selected value of p is the value that makes the Social Architect just indifferent between a Constant reform (500,-500) and Variable Reform (pt,-t).
After the task of assigning weights, Social Architects face a second task where we elicit their policy views. The first question asks them whether they would like to increase the tax on millionaires and the second question asks them if they would like the government to increase redistribution.
We inform the Social Architects that there is a chance that they will be randomly selected in this study. At the end of the study, we will randomly select one Social Architect. For the randomly selected Social Architect, one of the six decision screens will be randomly selected, and one of the four questions within the selected decision screen will be randomly selected and implemented. At the end of the study, the randomly selected question will involve two Recipients. We will recruit these two Recipients from a survey panel. The bonus payments of the two Recipients will depend on the choices of the randomly selected Social Architect.
The experimental flow described above is for the Loss x Moderate treatment in the study. We implement other treatments to assess how robust the welfare weights estimation is. In treatment Gain x Moderate, we change the framing of the reforms such that the reform amounts are all positive. In treatments Loss x Moderate and Gain x Moderate, every Recipient is compared to the Recipient earning $70000. Treatments Loss x High and Gain x High are similar to treatments Loss x Moderate and Gain x Moderate, with the exception that all the Recipients are compared to the Recipient earning $500,000.