Effort and Morals in Markets

Last registered on June 26, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Effort and Morals in Markets
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0009626
Initial registration date
June 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
June 26, 2022, 5:22 AM EDT

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

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Hamburg

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Hamburg

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2022-06-21
End date
2022-08-15
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
Understanding moral behavior in different market contexts and the effect of such behavior on giving. We consider the dynamics of moral decision making. Individuals may change their moral stands over a sequence of choices. Specifically, they have a choice between two technologies when conducting a real-effort task, with one giving a higher personal return, but a smaller social payoff (reduces a donation pool). Following the real effort task, subjects can donate under varying information and competition conditions. We are interested in learning to what extent these conditions affect (i) the initial choice of the technology, and (ii) the subsequent donation decisions.
We add to the literature on mora behavior in markets. We provide a more realistic experimental environment that is inspired by charitable giving, e.g. via foundations, that often follows market activities that generate private incomes (fortunes), but may have had negative externalities. By varying the observability of individual actions as well as by varying the competitiveness in the initial money-earning stage, we are able to identify the underlying motivational mechanisms that govern moral/immoral behavior.

External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Lange, Andreas and Christian Schmitz. 2022. "Effort and Morals in Markets." AEA RCT Registry. June 26. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.9626
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
This experiment will be conducted as an online experiment of the experimental laboratory of the University of Hamburg. The experiment will combine a real-effort task and a subsequent donation option. Two technologies are available: one give a larger personal payoffs than the other but leads to a deduction from a charity pool. We conduct a baseline and 2x3 treatments (EXO_A: exogenous technology A; EXO_B: exogenous technology B. T1: endogenous choice of technology; T2: endogenous choice of technology with observer, info only on final donation; T3: endogenous choice of technology with observer, info on technology choice and final donation. T4-T6 repeat T1-T3, but introduce a competitive element in which two participants are matched and a bonus payment is made to the one with the highest personal earnings in the real-effort task.
In the observer treatments, an observer is grading 6 participants. Participants know that they will receive feedback at the end of the experiment on their own grade and the average grade given to the 5 other participants.
Intervention Start Date
2022-06-21
Intervention End Date
2022-07-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
initial choice of technology, the effort (completed decoding tasks), as well as on the final voluntary contributions
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Grades given by observer

Exploratoiry use of control variables from a short questionnaire at the end of the survey: Demographic variables (gender, subject of study, political preference, donation outside the lab)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This experiment will be conducted as an online experiment of the experimental laboratory of the University of Hamburg. The experiment will combine a real-effort task and a subsequent donation option. Two technologies are available: one give a larger personal payoffs than the other but leads to a deduction from a charity pool. We conduct a baseline and 2x3 treatments (EXO_A: exogenous technology A; EXO_B: exogenous technology B. T1: endogenous choice of technology; T2: endogenous choice of technology with observer, info only on final donation; T3: endogenous choice of technology with observer, info on technology choice and final donation. T4-T6 repeat T1-T3, but introduce a competitive element in which two participants are matched and a bonus payment is made to the one with the highest personal earnings in the real-effort task.
In the observer treatments, an observer is grading 6 participants. Participants know that they will receive feedback at the end of the experiment on their own grade and the average grade given to the 5 other participants.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
260
Sample size: planned number of observations
8x30=240 plus 4x5 observer. Planned Number of Observations: In all treatments, we have 30 subjects. In the observer treatments, we have additional 5 subjects who evaluate the performance of 6 subjects each
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Planned Number of Observations: In all treatments, we have 30 subjects. In the observer treatments, we have additional 5 subjects who evaluate the performance of 6 subjects each.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number