Experimental Design Details
A sample of university students will be recruited to participate in an experiment from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. Participants will take an online survey on their personal phones using the platform Qualtrics.
A. Supplementary Survey
Recruitment of participants will be open to all students and non-discriminatory. Before the survey, participants will be ushered into a large room with one empty space seat between any two given sitting positions to enhance privacy during the survey. The survey will be conducted in two sessions of 250 participants each. Participants will be instructed to follow a link to the Qualtrics platform to partake in the survey. They will be informed about the benefits and risks of partaking in the survey, and given an e-mail address to send all further enquiries to. They can then choose to partake in the survey by indicating their consent. To start, I will collect some basic demographic information as well as measures of religiosity and networks. Next, I will elicit their own views and perceived other beliefs about some statements (these statements are coined from focus group discussions used to elicit normative beliefs about contraception use) by asking them to indicate if they agree or disagree to these statements, and to guess the share of other participants who agree to the statements.
Lastly, I will use a list randomization technique to collect participants self reports on the social acceptability of contraceptive use and purchase, as well as safe sexual behaviour. A randomly selected half of the participants will be asked to answer one sensitive question in the form of a true or false statement (direct elicitation), in addition to stating how many of 3 innocuous statements are true for them without indicating which ones. The other half of the participants will be asked to state how many of 4 statements (3 innocuous and 1 sensitive) are true for them without indicating which ones (indirect elicitation). Randomization to the direct or indirect elicitation group will be repeated for each of the 6 sensitive questions to be asked. This survey will end after participants indicate if they would like to be contacted for future surveys. All participants are entitled to their show up fees which will be paid in cash. In addition, winners who guess accurately will receive extra cash and 200 randomly selected participants will receive condom vouchers.
Recruitment of participants is open to all male student except those who already partook in the supplementary survey. I sample male students because they are the most suitable subjects for the contraceptive type I offer (male condoms). In order to enhance privacy during the experiment, the survey will be conducted in five sessions with 200 students per session. There will be an empty seat space between any two participant's to reduce the scope for communication. Each participant will be presented with a pseudo-ID with a unique code to link a participants self-reported responses to administrative data collected later.
Participants will be told to follow a link to the Qualtrics platform to complete the survey. They will be informed about the benefits and risks of partaking in the survey, and given an e-mail address to send all further enquiries to. They can then choose to partake in the survey by indicating their consent. This is followed by a block of questions that collect the needed baseline characteristics including questions on demographics, measures of religiosity and networks. The next block elicits the prior beliefs of all participants by asking them to indicate their own views and perceived other beliefs regarding some 3 statements (one of these statement will be based on the largest misperception detected at the supplementary survey) by agreeing or disagreeing to them, as well as guessing the share of other participants in the session who agree to the same statement. This later task is incentivized.
Participants are then randomly assigned by Qualtrics into one of either the (i.) prestige treatment group, (ii.) ordinary treatment group, (iii.) risky information treatment group or the (iv.) control group. The treatment is an informational block with a message about the dangers of risky health behaviours using unprotected sex as an example. In addition, it contains the findings of the supplementary survey indicating how many students agree and disagree to a statement (particularly, this statement will be based on the largest misperception detected at the supplementary survey). The treatments differ in this manner; in the Prestige Treatment Group, I emphasis on the characteristics of the participants in the supplementary survey while in the Ordinary Treatment Group, this information is omitted. In other words, the treatment message in both groups are the same and differ only on account of the salience of the identity of the information source in the Prestige Treatment Group. I aim to show that treatment effects vary with the identity of the information source/messenger. Both treatment messages will be complemented with a graphical illustration of the findings to enhance understanding of the message. In the risky information treatment group, I offer the same message about the dangers of risky health behaviours using unprotected sex as an example, while the control group receives no information. This is followed by a posterior belief elicitation.
Three weeks after the survey, participants will be sent a second round of condom vouchers. The experiment will end with a follow-up survey six weeks afterwards. A second posterior belief elicitation will be conducted, and participants will get access to a link to download another condom voucher. 100 randomly selected participants will be rewarded with mobile airtime.