Public Trust in Organizations

Last registered on November 01, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

Public Trust in Organizations
Initial registration date
October 28, 2021
Last updated
November 01, 2021, 11:41 AM EDT


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Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Konstanz
PI Affiliation
University of Bremen

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Public trust is crucial for the functioning of many organizations, such as central banks. Therefore, it is important to understand which institutional characteristics affect it. More specifically, we ask whether an individualistic or a collectivist structure makes an organization more trustworthy; and whether or not communication in the form of organizational mission-statements increases public trust. To address these questions, we study repeated versions of a basic trust game in which the trustee is an organization where decisions are either made by an individual or a collective. A game-theoretic analysis implies that public trust may or may not occur for a collectivist structure with overlapping terms of decision-makers but that public trust is impossible to achieve for an organization dominated by an individual. We propose a laboratory experiment to test our theoretical predictions and to assess the scope for trust when theory does not make unambiguous predictions.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Bao, Yongping, Sebastian Fehrler and Volker Hahn. 2021. "Public Trust in Organizations." AEA RCT Registry. November 01.
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
cooperation rate
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We conduct 4 treatments varying the number of decision-makers in the organization and the structure of organizations.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Subjects are randomly assigned to one of the treatments in the lab.
Randomization Unit
Experimental sessions
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
432 subjects
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
126 subjects in collectivist treatment; 54 subjects in individualistic treatment.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
German Association for Experimental Economic Research e.V.
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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