Second-Order Beliefs and Peer Pressure

Last registered on January 06, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

Second-Order Beliefs and Peer Pressure
Initial registration date
January 04, 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 06, 2022, 5:45 PM EST

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



Primary Investigator

Harvard University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Harvard University

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
We study pluralistic ignorance about peer pressure towards student effort amid U.S. middle school students. We randomly correct students' beliefs about how increases in studying impacts the willingness of their peers to form friendships.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Murdock, William and Dev Patel. 2022. "Second-Order Beliefs and Peer Pressure." AEA RCT Registry. January 06.
Experimental Details


We provide students information about how 30-randomly selected respondents from the same survey responded to a question about their willingness to be friends with someone who studies more.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
We will examine impacts on responses to the following survey questions:
For the rest of the school year, how many hours per week do you expect to spend on homework and studying outside of class?
Would you ever try to hide how much you study from your friends?
Imagine that your grades from your most recent report card will be revealed to the rest of your school unless you pay some money. For each of the following amounts, would you pay that amount to prevent your grades from being revealed to the rest of the school?
In general, in your school, do you think it is "cool to be smart''?
We will also look at potential impacts on grades from administrative data.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We assign treatment at the individual level, randomly providing information. Because the information we provide is collected and measured simultaneously in the same survey (which is being administered online), we do not randomize for the first 30 students to complete the survey, assigning them all to control. For the remaining respondents, we randomly assign treatment and control and calculate the information treatment based on a random subset of 30 respondents who have previously answered the survey.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization is done by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
The exact sample size will depend on school cooperation and take-up. We expect to have 865 students invited to the survey in the first round, and if a second round is possible, another roughly 865 in the second round.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
We expect roughly 415 treatment, the remaining in control by survey round.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Harvard University-Area Committee on the Use of Human Subjects
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials