Does Information Change Attitudes Towards Immigrants?

Last registered on September 06, 2016

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Does Information Change Attitudes Towards Immigrants?
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0001092
Initial registration date
March 03, 2016
Last updated
September 06, 2016, 6:59 AM EDT

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Warwick

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Bocconi University
PI Affiliation
University of Oxford

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2016-03-03
End date
2016-03-04
Secondary IDs
Abstract
People's beliefs about immigration have been shown to be very biased, which could help explain why most people in the United States and in Europe want to dramatically reduce immigration. It is therefore important to understand whether people would change their attitude towards immigrants if they received accurate information about immigration and the characteristics of immigrants. The experiment we want to conduct consists in providing facts and statistics about immigration to half of the participants, before measuring their attitude towards immigrants with some behavioural measures and some general questions about immigration. We will also run a follow-up experiment to see whether the effects persist over time.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
, , Christopher Roth and Diego Ubfal. 2016. "Does Information Change Attitudes Towards Immigrants?." AEA RCT Registry. September 06. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1092-2.0
Former Citation
, et al. 2016. "Does Information Change Attitudes Towards Immigrants?." AEA RCT Registry. September 06. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1092/history/10554
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The experiment is structured as follows: First, all respondents are asked a few questions on how much they trust official statistics, how many petitions they have signed in the last 12 months, and how worried they are about immigration. Then, we ask them to estimate five important statistics about immigration, such as the proportion of immigrants in the United States, or the proportion of immigrants who are incarcerated. The exact questions that participants need to answer are:

- According to the American Community Survey, what percentage of the total U.S. population are immigrants? By immigrants, we refer to people who were not born in the U.S.
- According to the Department of Homeland Security, what percentage of the total U.S. population are illegal immigrants?
- According to the American Community Survey, about 7 percent of all American citizens are unemployed. What percentage of immigrants are unemployed?
- According to the American Community Survey, 3 percent of all American citizens aged between 18 and 39 are incarcerated. Of all the immigrants living in the U.S. who are between 18 and 39 years old, what percentage are incarcerated?
- According to the American Community Survey, what percentage of immigrants can't speak English?

For each question, participants receive 10 cents if their estimate is within three percentage points of the true value. To avoid having participants look up the answers online, we only give them 25 seconds to answer each question. We also ask them how confident they are that their answer is correct.



Then, the treatment group is told what the correct answers are to these five questions, while the control group is not told anything. People in the treatment group will receive the following feedback:

- You estimated that X percent of the total U.S. population are immigrants. According to the American Community Survey, 13 percent of the total U.S. population are immigrants.

- You estimated that X percent of the total U.S. population are illegal immigrants. According to the Department of Homeland Security, 3 percent of the total U.S. population are illegal immigrants.

- You estimated that X percent of immigrants are unemployed. According to the American Community Survey, around 6 percent of immigrants are unemployed.

- You estimated that X percent of immigrants aged between 18 and 39 are incarcerated. According to the American Community Survey, 2 percent of immigrants aged between 18 and 39 are incarcerated.

- You estimated that X percent of immigrants cannot speak English. According to the American Community Survey, 8 percent of immigrants cannot speak English.
Intervention Start Date
2016-03-03
Intervention End Date
2016-03-04

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)

Self-Reported Measures

We ask all the participants a series of questions on their perception of legal and illegal immigrants, as well as on their policy preferences. For instance, we ask them whether they think that there are too many immigrants in the US, whether legal immigration should be reduced, whether immigrants have a negative impact on American society as a whole etc. For a detailed description of all the questions, please refer to the experimental instructions and the attached pre-analysis plan.

Behavioral Measures

We use two behavioral measures to assess whether the treatment changed our participants' attitude towards immigrants.\medskip

First, we give participants the option of signing the following pro-immigrant petition:

"Facilitate legal immigration into the US! Immigration is beneficial to the US economy, and it is therefore important to increase the number of green cards available for immigrants. Indeed, not only do immigrants strengthen the US economy, but they are also hard-working and law-abiding. Moreover, most of them adapt to our way of life, and they enrich our culture tremendously. This is why we believe that more green cards should be issued to immigrants, so that more of them can take part in the American Dream."
This gives us a behavioural measure of people's willingness to encourage legal immigration.


Second, we observe how much money participants donate to a pro-immigrant NGO. Specifically, respondents will read the following message:

Every tenth participant taking part in this survey will receive an extra \$10. They will have to choose how much money they want to keep for themselves, and how much money they want to donate to the American Immigration Council. Here is a short presentation of the American Immigration Council: The American Immigration Council is a non-profit, non-partisan, organization [which] exists to promote the prosperity and cultural richness of our diverse nation by:

- standing up for sensible and humane immigration policies that reflect American values,
- insisting that our immigration laws be enacted and implemented in a way that honors fundamental constitutional and human rights,
- working tirelessly to achieve justice and fairness for immigrants under the law.

Then then have to specify how much money they want to keep for themselves, and how much they want to give to the American Immigration Council.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The experiment is structured as follows: First, all respondents are asked a few questions on how much they trust official statistics, how many petitions they have signed in the last 12 months, and how worried they are about immigration. Then, we ask them to estimate five important statistics about immigration, such as the proportion of immigrants in the United States, or the proportion of immigrants who are incarcerated. The exact questions that participants need to answer are:

- According to the American Community Survey, what percentage of the total U.S. population are immigrants? By immigrants, we refer to people who were not born in the U.S.
- According to the Department of Homeland Security, what percentage of the total U.S. population are illegal immigrants?
- According to the American Community Survey, about 7 percent of all American citizens are unemployed. What percentage of immigrants are unemployed?
- According to the American Community Survey, 3 percent of all American citizens aged between 18 and 39 are incarcerated. Of all the immigrants living in the U.S. who are between 18 and 39 years old, what percentage are incarcerated?
- According to the American Community Survey, what percentage of immigrants can't speak English?

For each question, participants receive 10 cents if their estimate is within three percentage points of the true value. To avoid having participants look up the answers online, we only give them 25 seconds to answer each question. We also ask them how confident they are that their answer is correct.



Then, the treatment group is told what the correct answers are to these five questions, while the control group is not told anything. People in the treatment group will receive the following feedback:

- You estimated that X percent of the total U.S. population are immigrants. According to the American Community Survey, 13 percent of the total U.S. population are immigrants.

- You estimated that X percent of the total U.S. population are illegal immigrants. According to the Department of Homeland Security, 3 percent of the total U.S. population are illegal immigrants.

- You estimated that X percent of immigrants are unemployed. According to the American Community Survey, around 6 percent of immigrants are unemployed.

- You estimated that X percent of immigrants aged between 18 and 39 are incarcerated. According to the American Community Survey, 2 percent of immigrants aged between 18 and 39 are incarcerated.

- You estimated that X percent of immigrants cannot speak English. According to the American Community Survey, 8 percent of immigrants cannot speak English.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done by computer.
Randomization Unit
Individuals
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
800 individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
800 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
400 treatment individuals and 400 control individuals.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Oxford University
IRB Approval Date
2016-02-08
IRB Approval Number
ECONCIA15-053
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents

Representative Data PAP

MD5: 96e829188e89623feeb4f5c1a62f28a1

SHA1: 9baba485485348f74391a0b55a1056a2480e253d

Uploaded At: September 06, 2016

Does Information Change Attitudes Towards Immigrants

MD5: 5908d454404f7cdbc3a6267712697de1

SHA1: 00402ea4e53b617d8853d082218172d0848c1286

Uploaded At: March 03, 2016

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials