The Inflation Reduction Act and Stories for Political Advocacy

Last registered on January 11, 2023

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
The Inflation Reduction Act and Stories for Political Advocacy
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0010351
Initial registration date
November 02, 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
November 02, 2022, 5:08 PM EDT

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

Last updated
January 11, 2023, 12:05 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

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
MIT Department of Economics
PI Affiliation
Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2022-10-31
End date
2024-03-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
In August 2022, Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a bill with historic climate provisions, through the budget reconciliation process. The IRA was the most substantial package of climate legislation in US history, and it represented a major win for the US climate movement. However, it is project to accomplish only about 65% of the remaining emissions reductions required to reach the US' nationally-determined contributions to the Paris Agreement. This experiment will test how learning about the IRA's major, but incomplete, political win for the climate movement affects motivation to continue advocating for climate policy. Alongside, the experiment will also test the impacts of linking the IRA with a fictional story about the citizen-led climate movement that led to the bill's passage. We have three primary outcomes. First, we measure participants' collective external efficacy beliefs. Second, we have two primary measures of citizen action on climate change. The first is whether participants write and take steps to a letter to Congress about climate policy, and the second is donations of potential lottery winnings to climate advocacy groups. We supplement the main experimental survey, during which we collect our primary outcomes, with an obfuscated follow-up survey with additional measures of political engagement.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Page, Lucy, Hannah Ruebeck and Jamie Walsh. 2023. "The Inflation Reduction Act and Stories for Political Advocacy." AEA RCT Registry. January 11. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.10351-3.0
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The interventions will be information about the Inflation Reduction Act and a fictional, animated video about the hope for political action on climate change.
Intervention Start Date
2022-11-02
Intervention End Date
2023-03-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
We have three primary outcomes:

1) Contacting legislators: We will ask participants to first write out a personalized letter to their representatives in Congress advocating for ambitious climate action. Then, we will give participants a link to a form to send the letter through the National Resource Defense Council. Participants must remain anonymous, so we cannot observe whether participants actually send the letter. We can observe whether they write a letter and whether they click the link to send it.

2) Donations to a climate organization: We will tell participants that one respondent will be chosen to win an $80 bonus, and they can donate any amount of that to the Natural Resource Defense Council, the Sunrise Movement, or the Citizens' Climate Lobby. We will observe whether and how much people donate.

3) Collective-efficacy beliefs: We will elicit participants' agreement with a series of qualitative statements reflecting how government responds to citizen advocacy on issues like climate change.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
-Worry about climate change
-Desire for Congress to prioritize climate policy
-Emotional state
-Probabilistic belief that the US successfully meets its Paris Agreement goals
-Probabilistic belief that globally we limit warming to 1.5 degrees C
-Probabilistic belief about passing future climate policy
-Second-order beliefs about support for climate policy in the US
-Contents of letters written to Congress
-Climate donations in an obfuscated follow-up
-Clicking for information on midterm candidates' climate positions in obfuscated follow-up
-Probability of voting in the midterm elections or whether already voted, collected in follow-up
-Clicking for information on advocacy groups in the main survey and follow-up survey
-Clicking on a link to a map of Fridays for Future climate marches
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
All participants will watch informational videos about the Paris Agreement, US climate goals, and projected progress towards those goals through policies in place as of February 2022. Then, some participants will be randomized to learn about the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the progress it accomplishes towards US climate goals. Half of control participants (i.e. those who have not learned about the IRA) will be randomized to watch an extended control video with the same word-count and duration as the full treatment video. Within participants randomized to learn about the IRA, half will then also be randomized to watch a fictional animated story about political climate action as a quasi-backstory to the IRA. We will also randomize half of the control participants and non-story treatment participants to additional timed questions of the same total duration as the story.

We will collect outcomes both during the main experimental survey and during an obfuscated follow-up survey.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization implemented within Qualtrics
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
6000 survey participants
Sample size: planned number of observations
6000 survey participants
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Basic control: 1000 participants
Extended control: 1000 participants
IRA treatment only: 2000 participants
IRA + story treatments: 2000 participants
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
COUHES, MIT
IRB Approval Date
2022-11-02
IRB Approval Number
2208000715A005
Analysis Plan

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