Worker Voice and Disappointment

Last registered on January 20, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

Worker Voice and Disappointment
Initial registration date
January 14, 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 19, 2022, 12:30 PM EST

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

Last updated
January 20, 2022, 9:34 AM EST

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



Primary Investigator

Harvard University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Firms can harness worker voice to improve labor productivity and retention. By asking workers for their opinions, firms can learn information about worker preferences, production process improvements, and other insights. However, asking workers about their opinions may create the risk of disappointment by changing workers’ reference points. If firms cannot follow through on workers’ suggestions, workers may feel a loss and lower their productivity in response. It is difficult to identify a disappointment effect of worker voice because firm responses to workers’ suggestions are difficult to randomize. I employ an online experiment that randomizes the solicitation of worker input and employer response and uses real effort tasks to test the effect of worker voice with and without follow-through.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Ho, Helen. 2022. "Worker Voice and Disappointment." AEA RCT Registry. January 20.
Experimental Details


The experiment randomizes whether respondents are asked for their preference over two types of tasks and randomizes which task respondents receive.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Work quality and willingness-to-work
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Work quality will be measured as the Jaro-Winkler distance between the respondent's transcription and the correct characters. Willingness-to-work will be elicited using a Becker-Degroot-Marschak mechanism.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
The respondent's views of the researcher's leniency, voice-seeking, and responsiveness to voice.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
I will recruit participants on an online platform to complete transcription tasks.
Experimental Design Details
I will recruit participants on an online platform to complete transcription tasks. In the first session, respondents will receive both English and CAPTCHA tasks so they can form preferences. At the end of the first session, respondents will be told that they will be assigned one type for the second session. Respondents are then randomized between the voice and no voice treatments. In the second session, respondents are randomized into the English and CAPTCHA task types. Each respondent must complete a set number of the assigned task type. They are also given a chance to complete additional tasks of the same type for bonus pay through a Becker-Degroot-Marschak mechanism.
Randomization Method
Random number generator within Qualtrics
Randomization Unit
Individual-level randomization. Outcomes are at the individual-task level (quality) and at the individual-bonus level (willingness-to-work).
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
9,760 individual-tasks for the quality outcome. 6,100 individual-bonus levels for the willingness-to-work outcome.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Voice-CAPTCHA: 540
Voice-English: 60
No Voice-CAPTCHA: 540
No Voice-English: 60
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Work quality in Jaro-Winkler distance (continuous 0 to 1): mean = .96, SD = .06, ICC = .04, MDES = .004 in the distance measure, or 0.4 percent of mean Willingness-to-work (number of tasks between 0 and 100): mean = 24.8, SD= 19.3, ICC = .7, MDES = 3.1 tasks, or 12.5 percent of mean

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Harvard University
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information


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