Collective Rituals and Nation-Building: A Youth Camp Experiment in India

Last registered on January 03, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Collective Rituals and Nation-Building: A Youth Camp Experiment in India
Initial registration date
December 18, 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, 4:39 PM EST

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

Last updated
January 03, 2024, 6:49 AM EST

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



Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation
briq Institute
PI Affiliation

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
We test whether participation in collective, secular rituals can help foster harmonious relations between religious groups in India. Specifically, we randomly assign 412 Hindu and Muslim boys to attend one of two types of camps, or a control group. One camp focuses on providing civic education, along with team sports, and other activities; the other additionally incorporates a battery of ritualized elements – including synchronized singing, dancing, and clapping, flag-raising, a camp symbol, and a common uniform – which classic work in sociology suggests should foster social solidarity.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Ghosh, Arkadev et al. 2024. "Collective Rituals and Nation-Building: A Youth Camp Experiment in India." AEA RCT Registry. January 03.
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Endline survey one month after the camps end:

- Dictator game with Hindu/Muslim stranger (2 games)
- [campers only] Dictator game with Hindu/Muslim teammate and Hindu/Muslim non-teammate from the same camp (4 games)
- Willingness to plank: one with performance-related pay for 4 Muslims and 4 Hindus (for campers, randomly selected from non-teammates at same camp, for control, randomly selected from control), one with performance-related pay for self (with randomly assigned piece rate: INR 0 / 2 / 10 per 5 seconds)
- Public goods game with camp teammates (for control group: pseudo-teammates selected from the control group)
- [campers only] Self-reported willingness to do anything for the other campers

- Names of five closest friends (to be coded as Muslim- vs. Hindu-sounding)
- [campers only] Select friends from the camp
- [campers only] Select teammates spent time with in the past two weeks
- Willingness to play (as in Rao 2019): with Hindu/Muslim stranger

- Self-report whether more attached to being an Indian vs. being a Hindu/Muslim
- Answer to: How proud are you to be Indian?
- Choice between Indian vs. Hindu/Muslim identity fridge magnet

- Self-report whether willing to marry outgroup member, or willing to grant citizenship to an immigrant outgroup member
- Thermometer ratings for Narendra Modi, Mahatma Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, people from different countries (Nepal, England, Bangladesh, Pakistan)
- Ratings of political systems, and choice of best political system
- Support for reservation for Muslims
- Political issue importance

[Update January 2024] Phone survey one year after the camps end [note: we added these one-year follow-up details to pre-registration after surveying ~50 of 412 respondents to finalize question wording]:
- Same well-being measures as in the first endline (happiness, social life, PHQ-8)
- Names of five closest friends (to be coded as Muslim- vs. Hindu-sounding)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Measurement during the camps (primarily for mechanisms):
- Daily question cards completed by all campers with four questions on happiness, identity fusion, friendships with teammates, and level of excitement during the camp.
- Daily surveys on tablets completed by 12 campers per camp per day with questions on: identity fusion, friendships, emotions, self-esteem, emotional synchrony
- Data on camp activities recorded by observers, including: team photographs, engagement with rituals, organic (unplanned) rituals, captains chosen by teams (for sports)
- Richer measurement during specific activities: voting patterns during mock elections, performance and beliefs about teammates during structured game, group performance measures

Endline survey one month after the camps end:

- Self-reported social isolation, happiness
- PHQ-9 depression scale (without suicidal ideation)

- Predict whether people volunteered at baseline (predict for a group with 4 Muslims and 1 Hindu, and a group with 4 Hindus and 1 Muslim)
- [campers only] Predict whether teammates volunteered

- Constitution defines India as what type of republic?
- Who was India’s first prime minister?

- Agreement with masculinity norms (3 questions)

- Self-reported WTP to attend a similar future camp

[Update January 2024] Phone survey one year after the camps end [note: we added these one-year follow-up details to pre-registration after surveying ~50 of 412 respondents to finalise question wording]:
- Self-report whether more attached to being an Indian vs. being a Hindu/Muslim
- [campers only] Self-reported willingness to do anything for the other campers
- Do you stay in touch with people you met at the camp? [Y/N]
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We have recruited 412 boys (270 Hindus and 142 Muslims) aged 13 to 18 in West Bengal, and randomly assigned them to:

1. Regular Camp (N = 120) – free 12-day camp. The camp will include talks and games designed to impart democratic and universalist values.
2. Ritual Camp (N = 120) – free 12-day camp held concurrently with the Regular Camp. This camp will include the same activities, but will additionally contain “Durkheimian” ritualized features (flag-raising, synchronized singing and dancing, common uniforms, etc.)
3. Control Group (N = 172) – these boys were not invited to attend either camp.

The two camps will take place from December 19th to 31st, with a day off on December 25th. They will take place in the same location (a stadium), with one camp taking the morning session each day, and the other camp taking the afternoon session – alternating each day.

Our primary interest is in comparing endline outcomes between these groups, with (1) vs. (3) capturing the effect of the camp, and (1) vs. (2) capturing the effect of collective rituals. We will also pool (1) and (2), comparing with (3), for a higher-powered test of the effects of the two types of camps.

Those assigned to the camps have been randomly assigned to groups of 10 (24 groups of 10 in total, across the two camps). Most of the camp activities will be done in these groups. For each camp, groups have been randomly assigned such that:
- 6 groups have 5 Muslims and 5 Hindus each
- 6 groups have 2 Muslims and 8 Hindus each

This cross-cutting variation allows us to test for the effects of intergroup contact, and explore whether these effects differ by whether the camp has rituals or not.

For our analysis, we will run OLS regressions with randomization strata fixed effects, and a baseline-measured dependent variable when available. We will use robust standard errors when the unit of observation is the individual, and we will cluster standard errors at the individual-level when there are multiple observations per individual.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in the office in STATA. Randomization to camps stratified by religion, wave (2 waves of randomization), and below- vs. above-median baseline feeling thermometer score for Narendra Modi. No stratification for randomization to groups within each camp.
Randomization Unit
Individual-level (with only one eligible boy per household).
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
412 boys.
Sample size: planned number of observations
412 boys.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
120 boys in Regular Camp.
120 boys in Ritual Camp.
172 boys in Control Group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
UBC Behavioral Research Ethics Board
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

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Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

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Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials