Measuring The Effect of the Media on The Public's Understanding of Central Bank Information

Last registered on June 20, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Measuring The Effect of the Media on The Public's Understanding of Central Bank Information
Initial registration date
January 15, 2023

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 23, 2023, 5:41 AM EST

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

Last updated
June 20, 2023, 5:51 PM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

University of Oxford

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Central banks communicate with the broader public through a number of different channels. Recent research has looked at the impact of this communication on the inflation expectations of the public and their trust in central banks. However, the public rarely engages with this communication. Instead, the public tends to receive their economic information from the media. This research investigates whether the public's expectations for economic variables, their trust in central banks and their understanding of these messages are impacted by whether they receive their information directly from the central bank or through the media.

We seek to disentangle any possible differences in outcomes. In particular, we test whether a close-to-identical message impacts upon the public differently depending on whether it is from the central bank or the media. As a result, we try to identify if there are differences between outcomes, whether this is due to a credibility or trust effect of the source, or instead, it is because the different sources tend to transmit different information. Furthermore, in line with some previous research, we seek to identify how a much-condensed communication from the central bank impacts consumer outcomes relative to the longer-form communications they typically send.

Participants are asked questions about their expectations for economic variables in the future. They are then randomly assigned to 6 different informational treatments. After participants read the text, they are asked follow-up questions. These questions assess how much of the text they understood, their perceived credibility of the central bank, and their trust in the source of the information. We again ask them for their expectations for economic variables in the future having read the additional information. Participants are also asked some demographic questions, including their level of economics education, whether they are a homeowner and how often they read economics or business news.

External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Rickards, Peter. 2023. "Measuring The Effect of the Media on The Public's Understanding of Central Bank Information." AEA RCT Registry. June 20.
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
1-year ahead inflation expectations
5-year ahead inflation expectations
1-year ahead changes in interest rates
Self-reported understanding of content and messages
Confidence in ability to make inflation and interest rate forecasts
Perceptions of central bank
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Understanding of why decision taken
Agreeance with why decision taken
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Participants in the survey will be asked about their expectations for inflation and interest rates in the future. They will then be exposed to one of 6 different informational treatments. The treatments are central bank communications and media summaries of these communications in Australia.

Following this information, the participants will be asked to complete more questions. These will aim to identify their self-perceived understanding of the messages in the informational treatment, their expectations for inflation and interest rates, their perceptions of the central bank and their confidence in their forecasts. We will also ask questions to assess their economic literacy. The participants will then answer some demographic questions.

Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomisation done by a computer
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
3000 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
500 individuals per treatment arm. 6 treatment arms.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Oxford University Economics Department
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