Table of Contents

Round Giving: A Field Experiment on Suggested Donation Amounts in Public�Television Fundraising

David Reiley, Pandora Media, Inc., UC Berkeley School of Information
Anya Savikhin Samek, Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR), University of Southern California - Department of Economics

Gender Grading Bias at Stockholm University: Quasi-Experimental Evidence From an Anonymous Grading Reform

Joakim Jansson, Stockholm University - Department of Economics, Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)
Björn Tyrefors, Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Stockholm University - Department of Economics

Breaking Ties: Regression Discontinuity Design Meets Market Design

Atila Abdulkadiroglu, Duke University - Department of Economics
Joshua D. Angrist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), IZA Institute of Labor Economics
Yusuke Narita, Yale University - Department of Economics, Yale University - Cowles Foundation
Parag A. Pathak, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics

Parents’ Beliefs About Their Children’s Academic Ability: Implications for Educational Investments

Rebecca Dizon-Ross, University of Chicago

Competitive Poaching in Search Advertising: A Randomized Field Experiment

Siddharth Bhattacharya, Temple University - Department of Management Information Systems
Jing Gong, Temple University - Department of Management Information Systems
Sunil Wattal, Temple University - Department of Management Information Systems


RANDOMIZED SOCIAL EXPERIMENTS eJOURNAL

"Round Giving: A Field Experiment on Suggested Donation Amounts in Publicâ€?Television Fundraising" Fee Download
Economic Inquiry, Vol. 57, Issue 2, pp. 876-889, 2019

DAVID REILEY, Pandora Media, Inc., UC Berkeley School of Information
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ANYA SAVIKHIN SAMEK, Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR), University of Southern California - Department of Economics
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Direct‐mail fundraisers commonly provide a set of suggested donation amounts to potential donors, in addition to a write‐in option. Standard economic models of charitable fundraising do not predict an impact of suggested amounts on charitable giving. However, our field experiments on direct‐mail solicitations to over 10,000 members of a public television station tell a different story. We find that changing one of the suggested amounts in an ask string from $100 to $95 reduces the number of gifts greater than or equal to $90 by more than 30%. This contrasts with our finding that in three independent comparisons, increasing the entire vector of suggested amounts by 20%–40% reduces the probability of giving by approximately 15%, with little effect on the average size of the gift. Both manipulations lead to a larger proportion of write‐in donations, even as they reduce the number of total gifts. We propose a simple behavioral theory to explain the data: many donors prefer to give round numbers, and donors incur a cognitive cost when choosing to give a nonsuggested amount.

"Gender Grading Bias at Stockholm University: Quasi-Experimental Evidence From an Anonymous Grading Reform" Free Download
IFN Working Paper No. 1226, 2018

JOAKIM JANSSON, Stockholm University - Department of Economics, Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)
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BJĂ–RN TYREFORS, Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Stockholm University - Department of Economics
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In this paper, we first present novel evidence of grading bias against women at the university level. This is in contrast to previous results at the secondary education level. Contrary to the gender composition at lower levels of education in Sweden, the teachers and graders at the university level are predominantly male. Thus, an in-group bias mechanism could consistently explain the evidence from both the university and secondary education level. However, we find that in-group bias can only explain approximately 20 percent of the total grading bias effect at the university level.

"Breaking Ties: Regression Discontinuity Design Meets Market Design" Free Download
Cowles Foundation Discussion Paper No. 2170

ATILA ABDULKADIROGLU, Duke University - Department of Economics
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JOSHUA D. ANGRIST, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), IZA Institute of Labor Economics
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YUSUKE NARITA, Yale University - Department of Economics, Yale University - Cowles Foundation
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PARAG A. PATHAK, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics
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Centralized school assignment algorithms must distinguish between applicants with the same preferences and priorities. This is done with randomly assigned lottery numbers, nonlottery tie-breakers like test scores, or both. The New York City public high school match illustrates the latter, using test scores, grades, and interviews to rank applicants to screened schools, combined with lottery tie-breaking at unscreened schools. We show how to identify causal effects of school attendance in such settings. Our approach generalizes regression discontinuity designs to allow for multiple treatments and multiple running variables, some of which are randomly assigned. Lotteries generate assignment risk at screened as well as unscreened schools. Centralized assignment also identi�es screened school effects away from screened school cutoffs. These features of centralized assignment are used to assess the predictive value of New York City’s school report cards. Grade A schools improve SAT math scores and increase the likelihood of graduating, though by less than OLS estimates suggest. Selection bias in OLS estimates is egregious for Grade A screened schools.

"Parents’ Beliefs About Their Children’s Academic Ability: Implications for Educational Investments" Free Download
University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper No. 2019-38

REBECCA DIZON-ROSS, University of Chicago
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Schools worldwide distribute information to parents about their children's academic performance. Do frictions prevent parents, particularly low-income parents, from accessing this information to make decisions? A field experiment in Malawi shows that, at baseline, parents' beliefs about their children's academic performance are often inaccurate. Providing parents with clear, digestible performance information causes them to update their beliefs and adjust their investments: they increase the school enrollment of their higher-performing children, decrease the enrollment of lower-performing children, and choose educational inputs that are more closely matched to their children's academic level. Heterogeneity analysis suggests information frictions are worse among the poor.

"Competitive Poaching in Search Advertising: A Randomized Field Experiment" Free Download

SIDDHARTH BHATTACHARYA, Temple University - Department of Management Information Systems
Email:
JING GONG, Temple University - Department of Management Information Systems
Email:
SUNIL WATTAL, Temple University - Department of Management Information Systems
Email:

Keyword searches with brand names occur very commonly on search engines, which enables firms to infer not only when customers are searching for them, but also when customers are searching for their competitors. In other words, firms can generate traffic from search engine advertising by bidding not only on their own keywords but also on competitors’ keywords. The strategy of bidding on competitors’ keywords, known as competitive poaching, presents unique opportunities for academic research.

In this research, we examine the factors that influence the effectiveness of competitive poaching, specifically the role of different ad copies and the type of competitor (poached brand) that a brand is “poaching� from. We also examine how competing sponsored ads from the poached brand and other advertisers have an impact on competitive poaching. We run a field experiment for a three-month period with a business school in northeastern United States, by bidding on keywords of competing schools and randomly displaying different types of ad copies. We find that ad copies that feature vertical differentiation are more effective than other ad copies when poaching on keywords of high-quality brands. We also find that when poaching from low-quality brands, ad copies featuring horizontal differentiation perform better than other ad copies. We further show that the presence of the poached brand’s own ad leads to a positive impact when that brand is high-quality, and a negative impact if the poached brand is low-quality. Finally, we also find that the presence of other advertisers using quality signals in their ad copies has a positive impact on clicks. However, use of vertical differentiation ad copies by the focal brand negatively moderates the impact of the presence of other advertisers using quality signals. The academic and managerial contributions are also discussed.

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About this eJournal

The randomized social experiment is a distinctive modern form of social research activity. Randomized Social Experiments makes available papers, articles, and research reports concerned with field tests of human behavior in which random assignment has been used for evaluation purposes. Social experiments began in the United States in the late 1960s, and have since been conducted on all the inhabited continents. Random assignment involves neither choice nor discretion. Whereas human subjects may or may not have the right to choose to participate in the experiment, they do not have the right to decide which group within the experiment they will join. Similarly, persons administering the policy intervention may restrict eligibility for participation in the experiment, but once a person is admitted, program staff cannot determine the group in which that subject is enrolled, except by using randomization. If implemented properly, the results of social experiments generally are internally valid, that is, they provide unbiased impact estimates for targeted people subject to different treatments at the particular time and place they were administered. The question of their external validity to larger populations, other places, or time periods will at all times be controversial.

Randomized Social Experiments succeeds the Digest of Social Experiments 3rd ed. (David Greenberg and Mark Shroder Washington D.C., Urban Institute Press, 2004), which contains brief summaries of 240 social experiments completed by April 2003.

Greenberg and Shroder believe that the methods they used to capture research activity in this growing field are no longer sufficient, and have asked SSRN to provide a new mechanism by which the community of scholars can learn about it. Randomized Social Experiments includes, but is not limited to, field studies of social programs in which the behavior of individuals, households, or (in rare instances) firms or organizations is examined subject to a protocol which includes

- Random assignment: Creation of at least two groups of human subjects who differ from one another by chance alone.

- Policy intervention: A set of actions ensuring that different incentives, opportunities, or constraints confront the members of each of the randomly assigned groups in their daily lives.

- Follow-up data collection: Measurement of various outcomes for members of each group.

- Evaluation: Application of statistical inference and informed professional judgment about the degree to which the policy interventions have caused differences in outcomes between the groups.

Randomized Social Experiments will also contain information on certain studies that would be excluded from the above definition because they do not involve social policy interventions, and therefore expands on the Digest. Specifically, we have added randomized studies of social exclusion (e.g., field tests of prevalence of discrimination in the market place) and methods of political mobilization, any type of personnel policy used by employers, and any type of marketing strategies used by either businesses or charities. In all cases, however, studies included will involve the observation of actual, not theoretical, human behavior in the field, not the laboratory.

Although the primary objective of this journal is to produce internally valid impact estimates, Randomized Social Experiments is not limited to only analyses of impacts. Rather, included are any papers, articles, or research reports that utilize data generated by social experiments, including analyses of the implementation and cost-benefits of the tested programs and policies. Also included are more general discussions of and research on social experimentation (e.g., methodological issues, the relative merits of social experiments and non-experimental approaches to estimating impacts, and syntheses of findings from social experiments).

Editors: David H. Greenberg, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and Mark D. Shroder, Government of the United States of America

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Advisory Board

Randomized Social Experiments eJournal

JOSHUA ANGRIST
Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), IZA Institute of Labor Economics

ROBERT F. BORUCH
University Trustee Chair Professor, Graduate School of Education and Statistics Department, Wharton School - University of Pennsylvania

GARY T BURTLESS
Senior Fellow in Economic Studies, The John C. and Nancy D. Whitehead Chair, Brookings Institution, Affiliated Researcher, Boston College - Retirement Research Center

ESTHER DUFLO
Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics, Director - Poverty Action Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics, Director, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), Board member, Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD)

DONALD P. GREEN
J.W. Burgess Professor of Political Science, Columbia University

JUDITH M. GUERON
Scholar in Residence and President Emerita, President Emerita, MDRC

ROBINSON HOLLISTER
Joseph Wharton Professor of Economics, Swarthmore College - Economics Department

ROBERT J. LALONDE
Professor of Public Policy, University of Chicago - Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), IZA Institute of Labor Economics

JOHN A. LIST
Professor, University of Chicago - Department of Economics, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), IZA Institute of Labor Economics

REBECCA MAYNARD
University Trustee Chair Professor of Education and Social Policy, University of Pennsylvania

ROBERT MOFFITT
Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Economics and Chief Editor American Economic Review, Johns Hopkins University - Department of Economics, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

LARRY L. ORR
Associate, Johns Hopkins University, Consultant, Independent Consultant

JEFFREY ANDREW SMITH
Paul T. Heyne Distinguished Chair in Economics, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Professor, University of Michigan - Department of Economics, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

ROBERT WALKER
Professor of Social Policy, Fellow of Green College, University of Oxford