History-dependent fairness preferences

Last registered on September 07, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

History-dependent fairness preferences
Initial registration date
February 18, 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
February 23, 2022, 8:40 AM EST

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

Last updated
September 07, 2022, 7:05 AM EDT

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



Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
This project aims to study the effect of choice-set history on the trade-off between equality and efficiency. I conduct an incentivized spectator game, where subjects through eleven decision problems choose between two distributions of money for pairs of anonymous stakeholders. In the first ten, I manipulate the efficiency of one distribution in the choice-set in order to test for path-dependence and spillovers to the eleventh decision. The main hypothesis is that repeated exposure to high efficiency costs leads to a normalization of high efficiency costs, and thus increased acceptance towards outcomes that are more equal but less efficient, in subsequent choices.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Madland, Kjetil. 2022. "History-dependent fairness preferences." AEA RCT Registry. September 07. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8997-2.0
Experimental Details


Experimental spectator-survey in MTurk. I manipulate choice-set history to study path-dependence in the trade-off between fairness and efficiency.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The probability of choosing the more equal distribution.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Randomized between-subject treatment. Subjects are divided into two groups, one in which there is a high efficiency cost associated with choosing the most equal distribution in the first ten choices, the other with no cost. In the eleventh choice, both groups face the same decision problem, where there is a moderate efficiency cost associated with the more equal outcome.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Subjects are assigned to treatment by a random algorithm in the survey provider Qualtrics. For each subject, there is a ten percent probability that one of his/her choices are implemented for a real pair of stakeholders. This is randomly drawn from lists generated by random.org.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
1400 individuals, more is money allows.
Sample size: planned number of observations
1400, more if money allows
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
700 individuals in high group and 700 individuals in low group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Seven percentage points difference in means, provided five percent confidence level and 80% statistical power.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
NHH Internal Review Board
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
NHH-IRB 31/21
Analysis Plan

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Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
March 17, 2022, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Data Collection Completion Date
March 17, 2022, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
699 high cost, 699 no cost
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials