Nudging Recycling with a Mobile Game

Last registered on October 19, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Nudging Recycling with a Mobile Game
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008393
Initial registration date
October 17, 2021
Last updated
October 19, 2021, 1:57 PM EDT

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Vassar College

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2021-10-24
End date
2022-01-01
Secondary IDs
Q50
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
At Vassar’s campus, as much as half of our recycling bags are discarded due to contamination (e.g. half empty soda bottles, or wrappers contaminated by food waste). Our office of sustainability has worked on an on-going campaign to better educate Vassar students on how to recycle, but signs and orientation events seem to have limited effectiveness. Can we do better with an App. We developed a game (runs in a browser, or on phone) that teaches players to properly recycle. Subjects are randomized into 4 treatments that changes the scoring rules of the game (gaining points vs losing points, and solo scores vs cooperative scores) and a control where they do the survey before playing the game.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Ho, Benjamin and Suchen Zhu. 2021. "Nudging Recycling with a Mobile Game." AEA RCT Registry. October 19. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8393-1.0
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The survey obtains informed consent and will then measure how the game affects both their knowledge of recycling rules and their pro-social preferences by giving them a chance to win a $20 gift card, and the opportunity to donate part of their winnings to a curated selection of charities. Email will be optionally collected only to be able to send the winner a gift card and will otherwise be discarded. No other identifying information will be collected.
Subjects will be recruited through Amazon mTurk, online reddit forums, and during Vassar’s freshman orientation event. Since we intend to use the game during orientation, the game may be played be participants who may be under the age of 18 and may be undocumented.
Game distributed by web link either via Amazon mturk or directly to students during freshman orientation.
When students get the link to the game, they are automatically randomized into one of the five treatments, that only affects how the scoring but does not impact game play itself. No data is recorded at this stage, this also helps get past App Store approvals.
Intervention Start Date
2021-10-24
Intervention End Date
2022-01-01

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Recycling knowledge and Donation decisions after playing the mobile game.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We developed a game (runs in a browser, or on phone) that teaches players to properly recycle. Subjects are randomized into 4 treatments that changes the scoring rules of the game (gaining points vs losing points, and solo scores vs cooperative scores) and a control where they do the survey before playing the game
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Computer randomization.
Randomization Unit
Randomized at the individual mturk worker level.
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
350 mturk workers
(working on funding for extending sample size to 800 which will allow a minimum detectable size of 10%.)
Sample size: planned number of observations
350 mturk workers
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
70 per treatment (in a 2x2 design), and 70 in a control.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
In a pilot, we observed an average donation of $6 with a standard deviation of 3. Combining treatments, should be able to detect a $1 difference in donation size.
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Vassar College
IRB Approval Date
2021-08-17
IRB Approval Number
n/a
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents

recycling-pre-registration.pdf

MD5: 67aff915548335756d6cfd7e0b6971b2

SHA1: a6ba767dbf0b4cca8f99825663beccf35655ecd3

Uploaded At: October 17, 2021