Inequality with unequal opportunity

Last registered on April 20, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Inequality with unequal opportunity
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008474
Initial registration date
January 21, 2022

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
January 24, 2022, 9:46 AM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
April 20, 2022, 11:08 PM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Nanjing Audit University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2022-01-22
End date
2022-07-30
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
We live in a society which values meritocracy, in which people are rewarded by their merit, rather than luck or other factors. Studies show that inequality is more acceptable to individuals when the source is considered as merit (Almas et al., 2020). We are interested in situations where the source of merit is unequal opportunity. Specifically, we investigate individuals’ preference for redistribution when the source of inequality involves unequal opportunity.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Dong, Lu, Lingbo Huang and Jaimie Lien. 2022. "Inequality with unequal opportunity." AEA RCT Registry. April 20. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8474
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
In all treatments, workers complete a simple task (a multiple-choice quiz), and their initial payment rewards are determined by the specific rules of the treatment, described in detail below. The spectator is provided with a summary which describes the situation faced by workers and the initial payment reward result, and then decides on the final payment for the pair of workers. Workers are informed during their part of the task that their task performance will only determine their reward temporarily, but that they must wait for a spectator to make the final reward allocation decision between them and their paired worker. Regardless of the spectator’s decision, each worker will receive at least $2 for completing their part of the task, and thus each worker will be compensated reasonably for their time spent (approximately 10 to 15 minutes).

We implement four different treatments that allow us to study how random opportunity (both ex-ante and ex-post) affects people’s acceptance of inequality between the two workers. There are two additional treatments in which spectators can decide whether or not to perform a number checking task to reveal the conditions under which workers received their initial reward allocations.
Intervention Start Date
2022-01-29
Intervention End Date
2022-06-22

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The main outcome variable is the amount redistributed spectators to the workers in different treatments, r_i. The different redistributive amounts will lead to different implemented inequality levels, that is, the absolute value of the difference in payment to the two workers divided by total payment j_i=(|6-2r_i |)/6.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
In all treatments, workers complete a simple task (a multiple-choice quiz), and their initial payment rewards are determined by the specific rules of the treatment, described in detail below. The spectator is provided with a summary which describes the situation faced by workers and the initial payment reward result, and then decides on the final payment for the pair of workers. Workers are informed during their part of the task that their task performance will only determine their reward temporarily, but that they must wait for a spectator to make the final reward allocation decision between them and their paired worker. Regardless of the spectator’s decision, each worker will receive at least $2 for completing their part of the task, and thus each worker will be compensated reasonably for their time spent (approximately 10 to 15 minutes).

We implement four different treatments that allow us to study how random opportunity (both ex-ante and ex-post) affects people’s acceptance of inequality between the two workers. There are two additional treatments in which spectators can decide whether or not to perform a number checking task to reveal the conditions under which workers received their initial reward allocations. Our study has a between-subject design, that is, to compare spectators’ redistributive behavior in different treatments, thus each recruited participant only participates in *one* of the treatments described below.


Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done by a computer in an online survey
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
About 2100 respondents
Sample size: planned number of observations
About 2100 respondents
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
We plan to recruit 210 spectators plus 140 workers for each treatment. The sample ought to be representative of the US general population in terms of gender, age, education, and region.
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
Fairness Concepts and Redistributive Choices
IRB Approval Date
2021-12-29
IRB Approval Number
SBRE-21-0268
Analysis Plan

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