Public Perceptions of Administrative Values Tradeoff: Bureaucratic and Democratic Ethos

Last registered on January 03, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Public Perceptions of Administrative Values Tradeoff: Bureaucratic and Democratic Ethos
Initial registration date
December 01, 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
January 03, 2023, 4:43 PM EST

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



Primary Investigator

University of Arizona

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
American University

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Scholarly debate over bureaucratic and democratic values has been one of the fundamental questions in the field of public administration. Despite a volume of theoretical discussions, we know little about how the general public cares about these two sets of administrative values in practice. This paper fills the gap in the literature by investigating the public's views on four administrative values: effectiveness and efficiency (bureaucratic values), as well as equity and participation (democratic values). Specifically, the research asks three questions: (1) does the general public recognize differences among effectiveness, efficiency, equity, and participation?, (2) does the public regard certain value(s) as more important than the other values in evaluating public programs?, and (3) Is the public willing to sacrifice efficiency and effectiveness in order to achieve more democratic outcomes in public service delivery? To address these questions, we will conduct a vignette experiment using the context of US nursing homes where bureaucratic and democratic values (effectiveness, efficiency, equity, and participation) serve as treatment manipulations. The experiment participants will complete a set of survey questions (that have previously been validated) that ask their perceptions of different aspects of organizational performance, after reading a vignette that describes various managerial activities of a hypothetical US nursing home. Using the data from this experiment, we will be able to assess public perceptions of key administrative values in evaluating government performance. The findings from this research will have broad implications to our understanding of ethical frameworks of public administration, namely bureaucratic and democratic ethos.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Jo, Suyeon and Kenneth Meier. 2023. "Public Perceptions of Administrative Values Tradeoff: Bureaucratic and Democratic Ethos." AEA RCT Registry. January 03.
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The key outcome variables of interest are participants' perceptions of key administrative values (effectiveness, efficiency, equity, and participation; whether and to what extent participants think that a government organization provides public services in effective, efficient, equitable, and participatory manners)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The participants will read a short description o
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization by the survey experimental software
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
1600 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1600 participants are randomly assigned to the each of the following cues:

Effectiveness Cue: Randomly assign 1-5
Efficiency Cue: $8131 per month, $9937 per month
Equity Cue: 64%, 96%
Participation Cue: Yearly, Weekly
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
American University Institutional Review Board (IRB)
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials