In the experiment, there will always be two options out of which the adviser can recommend one to the consumer. The adviser gets a bonus for exactly one out of two options and has noisy private information about which option yields a higher payoff for the consumer. Subsequently, the adviser chooses an option for the consumer. After observing his resulting payoff (0 points in the bad case, 1 point in the good case), the consumer can decide whether or not to dissolve the relationship. This procedure is repeated until the consumer dissolves the relationship or it is ended exogenously (after a randomly predetermined number of rounds). Whenever the consumer dissolves the relationship, he gets an outside option of 5 points added to his collected points from the current adviser-consumer relationship.
When all relationships are ended (either exogenously or by the consumers), all consumers are randomly assigned a new adviser and they play another round of the same game. All in all, each consumer will be matched to seven advisers in total (which do not have to, but are likely to be distinct). In the sessions conducted after January 13, 2022, each player plays ten rounds of the above game, so that each consumer is matched to ten advisers in total.
The difference between the control group and the treatment group is in the information the adviser gets about the good option for the consumer (meaning the option that pays 1 point to the consumer). In both groups, the adviser will always get a signal indicating the good option for the consumer. In the control group, this signal is always correct with a probability of 82% and incorrect with a probability of 18%. In the treatment group, this signal quality also starts off being 82%, but it increases by 2% whenever the adviser generates good advice (in the sense that the consumer received one point from the recommended option). The maximal signal quality is, however, 90%. Hence, after improving four times, the signal quality stays at 90% until the end of the specific adviser-consumer relationship.
After these games we elicit gender, risk attitude and trust attitude. The elicitation of risk attitudes is incentivized: Subjects make six binary choices where each choice is between a risky lottery and a safe payment. Trust attitude is measured by the extent to which subjects agree to four statements about trust (statements are as in Naef and Schupp, 2009, SOEP paper 167).
All individuals are paid a show-up fee of 4 €. Depending on how they do in the experiment, they can earn more money: one out of the seven (or ten in the sessions after January 13, 2022) subgames is randomly picked and paid out. Furthermore, one of the six choices in the risk elicitation part is randomly picked and paid out. The overall payments per person are expected to vary between 4 and 30 €.
The experiment is conducted at the CLER (Cologne Laboratory for Economic Research) using oTree (Chen et al., 2016).