The political effects of conspiracy theories in West Africa: Experimental evidence from Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal

Last registered on January 03, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

The political effects of conspiracy theories in West Africa: Experimental evidence from Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal
Initial registration date
December 10, 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, 11:20 AM EST

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



Primary Investigator

Bucknell University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Bucknell 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.
Misinformation has become pervasive in American politics, and the rise of groups like QAnon reveal that conspiratorial thinking is neither a rare nor a benign phenomenon. In the post-truth era, misperceptions are prevalent among the mass public, but surprisingly, elites also exploit and promote misinformation. Given current interest by scholars and the public in the effects of “fake news” on political attitudes and beliefs, as well as on political participation, our proposed work aims to examine the consequences of exposure to and beliefs in conspiracy theories, which are a specific form of misinformation on political behavior. Do conspiracy theories make people more or less politically active? Moreover, do they affect perceptions of one's identity and their perceptions of democracy?

Although a growing body of studies has explored the antecedents of people’s adoption of conspiracy beliefs, the consequences of conspiracy theories – particularly regarding political participation concerning normative vs. non-normative political participation– have been less explored. Research has looked at conspiracy beliefs, exposure to specific conspiracy theories, conspiracy thinking, and the communication of conspiracy theories as predictor variables. To date, the findings are mixed due to conceptual differences and the selection of predictors with different functions and aspects.

In this paper we study the political effects of conspiracy theories but here we extend them to a non-western context. Most research on the political effects of conspiracy theories has been conducted in western countries leaving aside their effects in non-western countries. Yet, just like in western countries, conspiracy theories are a deep part of political life in many countries in the world. This is especially true in semi-democratic countries like those in Africa. In this analysis we extend research to West Africa examining Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal. Our focus is on the effects of conspiracy theories in two areas (i) identity and perceptions focusing on respondent views of their own identity and democracy and (ii) political behavior. We will ask a series of questions to measure these various outcomes including one that is behavioral asking if they want to donate their participation fee to a government-run orphanage.

In addition we will conduct replications in the U.S. with a nationally representative survey conducted by Yougov and another non-representative sample with Mturk. We will use these results to provide a comparison with a western country.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Doces, John and Yongkwang Kim. 2023. "The political effects of conspiracy theories in West Africa: Experimental evidence from Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal ." AEA RCT Registry. January 03.
Experimental Details


A randomly assigned treatment about political conspiracy.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
national versus ethnic identity
degree to which country is democratic
likelihood of voting in the future
likelihood of participating in a political protest
decision to donate participation fee
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
In West Africa, we will conduct a survey experiment in the field using an in-person face-to-face survey. Respondents will be randomly selected according to a random walk method. In the U.S. respondents will participate in a nationally representative Yougov survey and a non-representative survey through Mturk. These will be done on-line.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization will be done prior to survey using Excel.
Randomization Unit
Individual is unit of randomization.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Individual is unit of randomization.
Sample size: planned number of observations
In West Africa a total of 800 respondents will be selected. For the Yougov survey we will have 1200 observations and for the Mturk 500 observations.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
In total we will have 1,250 observations by treatment/control arms.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
No pre-existing data.
Supporting Documents and Materials


Document Name
Document Type
Document Description
Statement of hypotheses

MD5: a7550f395b2dced46428d71d40dc2540

SHA1: 99b96091412fe9939a74869aa93c87b0aa3bda24

Uploaded At: December 10, 2022


Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Bucknell University Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

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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