Rule Following and Cooperation

Last registered on November 29, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Rule Following and Cooperation
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0009755
Initial registration date
July 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
July 26, 2022, 1:13 PM EDT

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

Last updated
November 29, 2022, 11:25 AM EST

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

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Nottingham

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Nottingham
PI Affiliation
University of Nottingham

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2022-07-26
End date
2023-02-28
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
Rule following is fundamental to social order and often a practical form of human cooperation. Both rule following and cooperation have in common that they are individually costly but collectively beneficial in many interesting situations. Here we investigate how cooperation in a social dilemma situation is linked to people’s propensity to follow costly rules. This study comprises of five treatments which examine how rule following behaviour and cooperation in a public good setting are related. We will conduct an online experiment with 520 participants on the platform Prolific, using the software LIONESS Lab.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Cubitt, Robin, Simon Gaechter and Pierce Gately. 2022. "Rule Following and Cooperation." AEA RCT Registry. November 29. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.9755-2.0
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2022-07-26
Intervention End Date
2022-07-27

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The number of tokens placed in the blue bucket are the primary outcome variable. They indicate the extent of rule following and cooperation, respectively.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Empirical expectations, that is, participants guesses of (1) the number of tokens other participants placed in the blue bucket and (2) the number of other participants who placed all of their tokens into the blue bucket.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
We expect empirical expectations to be correlated with actual own decisions.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This experiment focuses on the relationship between rule-following and cooperative behaviour in social dilemmas, by adapting the “bucket task” by Kimbrough and Vostroknutov (2018). Across five experimental treatments participants are asked to allocate five tokens between a blue and a yellow bucket. In all experimental treatments the primary outcome of interest is the number of tokens placed in the blue bucket, which represents the rate of rule-following and cooperation, respectively. We will also elicit empirical expectations measured as the expected allocation of tokens to the blue bucket by other participants.

The five experimental treatments are:

1. Baseline Public Goods Game (PGG) – No Rule;
2. Baseline Rule Following Task (RFT) – No Public Good;
3. PGG with a Rule;
4. PGG with a Social Rule (“helps other group members”);
5. RFT and PGG No Rule (order of tasks randomised).

T1 to T4 are between-subjects, and T5 is within-subjects. All treatments are followed by a questionnaire asking about gender, age, and political ideology and the Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT; Frederick, 2005).

We will collect 104 participants in each of the 5 treatments, that is, a total of 520 participants. The experiment will be run on the platform Prolific using the software LIONESS Lab (Giamattei et al. 2020). It has received ethical approval from the Nottingham School of Economics Research Ethics committee.

Both the PGG and the RFT are one-shot games.

** Follow up Experiments of T5 (planned for December 2022) **

In the first wave of experiments with T1 to T5 (run on Prolific on 27 July 2022) we collected about 104 observations per treatment on average. In T5 which has two orders we only had 56 observations on average. Since there is evidence for order effects with the RFT we decided to replicate T5 with increased numbers of observations such that we have the same expected number of observations in all treatments regardless of order.

We will therefore rerun T5 (RFT and PGG No Rule) in both orders with an expected sample size of 110 each. This will give us increased power to detect any potential order effects, and also allow for proper comparison between behaviour in T5 with behaviour in Baseline PGG and Baseline RFT respectively. To be on the safe side the target sample size in both orders of T5 is 110. To allow for dropouts (estimated from wave 1 to be roughly 10%) and to facilitate the collection of equal numbers our target will be to recruit 250 participants (that is 125 per order in T5) which should accommodate for potential dropouts of about 15 per treatment enabling us to collect 110 complete observations in each order.

All procedural details described in the rest of this preregistration remain the same.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
People will be randomly allocated into one of the five treatments by the LIONESS Lab software (https://lioness-lab.org/).

In the follow up experiments of T5 participants will be randomly allocated into one of the two orders by the LIONESS Lab software (https://lioness-lab.org/).
Randomization Unit
Individuals are randomly allocated to one of the 5 treatments. In T5 the order of tasks is randomized, and the task that is paid will be randomized as well.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
In treatments 1 - 4 participants will take only one decision. In T5 participants take two decisions and we will therefore cluster at the individual level.
Sample size: planned number of observations
We will recruit 104 participants for each of the 5 treatments, that is, a total of 520 people. The previous sentence refers to the previous experiment run in July 2022. We now plan a follow up with an additional 250 participants, allowing for dropouts. See details above in the experimental design.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
On average 104 participants per treatment were collected in July 2022.

In the follow up experiments of T5 we plan to recruit 125 participants with a target number per order of 110 after dropouts.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
The Nottingham School of Economics Research Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
2022-06-23
IRB Approval Number
ERCP-2022-011-rulefollow-coop
IRB Name
The Nottingham School of Economics Research Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
2022-11-28
IRB Approval Number
ERCP-2022-015-rulefollow-coop2
Analysis Plan

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