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The Elasticity of Policy Preferences to Information
Last registered on December 08, 2016

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
The Elasticity of Policy Preferences to Information
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0001326
Initial registration date
June 05, 2016
Last updated
December 08, 2016 4:15 AM EST
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of Warwick
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Zurich
PI Affiliation
University of Zurich
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2016-05-27
End date
2016-06-02
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This document describes the analysis plan for a field experiment evaluating the effects of direct
mailing on preferences for redistribution. We consider the case of the vote on the unconditional
basic income (henceforth UBI) which takes place in Switzerland in June 2016. Approximately
one week before the vote, different types of letters are sent to almost 2/3 of the swiss municipalities
with less than 750 households. These municipalities receive either a placebo letter which
reminds them to go voting, or a letter containing the same content as the placebo letter, but
also information about inequality, poverty and likely labor supply responses to the UBI. This
document outlines the econometric methods that will be used to assess the effect of the letters
on our main outcome variables.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Fehr, Ernst, Christopher Roth and Julien Senn. 2016. "The Elasticity of Policy Preferences to Information." AEA RCT Registry. December 08. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1326-2.0.
Former Citation
Fehr, Ernst et al. 2016. "The Elasticity of Policy Preferences to Information." AEA RCT Registry. December 08. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1326/history/12319.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Each household in each municipalities in the placebo condition receives a letter which says, in
substance, that:
• the vote on the UBI takes place on the 5th on June.
• this vote is “an important opportunity to expand the economic opportunities of many
people, to effectively diminish poverty and to achieve a higher life quality for everyone.”
• the UBI is supposed to enable the whole population to live a life in decent conditions and
to enable them to take part in public life.
• each citizen’s vote can make a difference.
Each household from the municipalities in the information condition receives a similar letter
containing additional (truthful) information about:
• income inequality in Switzerland. In particular people are told the share of the total labor
income earned by the top 10% in the income distribution and by the bottom 10% in the
income distribution.
• expected labor supply response to the UBI in Switzerland. Specifically, people are told
that according to a recent survey almost all Swiss citizens plan to continue working after
the introduction of the basic income.
• the absolute number of swish citizens living below the poverty line. People are told that
more than 500,000 households in Switzerland have an income below the poverty line.3
Intervention Start Date
2016-06-01
Intervention End Date
2016-06-02
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
--- Percentage of people voting in favor of the basic income popular initiative.
--- voter turnout for the basic income popular initiative.
--- Percentage of people voting in favor of the pro-public service initiative.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We randomly assign approximately 31% of these municipalities to an information treatment, approximately 31% to a placebo treatment, and the remaining municipalities to a control group.

Each household in each municipalities in the placebo condition receives a letter which says, in
substance, that:
• the vote on the UBI takes place on the 5th on June.
• this vote is “an important opportunity to expand the economic opportunities of many
people, to effectively diminish poverty and to achieve a higher life quality for everyone.”
• the UBI is supposed to enable the whole population to live a life in decent conditions and
to enable them to take part in public life.
• each citizen’s vote can make a difference.
Each household from the municipalities in the information condition receives a similar letter
containing additional (truthful) information about:
• income inequality in Switzerland. In particular people are told the share of the total labor
income earned by the top 10% in the income distribution and by the bottom 10% in the
income distribution.
• expected labor supply response to the UBI in Switzerland. Specifically, people are told
that according to a recent survey almost all Swiss citizens plan to continue working after
the introduction of the basic income.
• the absolute number of swish citizens living below the poverty line. People are told that
more than 500,000 households in Switzerland have an income below the poverty line.3
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Municipality level
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
1033 municipalities
Sample size: planned number of observations
1033 municipalities
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
321 treatment clusters
316 placebo clusters
396 control clusters
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
When we compare the mean support in municipalities in receipt of the information treatment relative to municipalities not receiving any letters we have power of .8 to detect effect sizes of .21 of a standard deviation at =0.05. In our preferred specification including strata fixed effects, Canton fixed effects, as well as additional controls, we will have a power of .8 to detect effect sizes of about .18 of a standard deviation at =0.05. When we compare the mean support in municipalities in receipt of the information treatment relative to municipalities which receive the placebo letters, we have power of .8 to detect effect sizes of .22 of a standard deviation at =0.05. In our preferred specification including strata fixed effects, Canton fixed effects, as well as additional controls, we will have a power of .8 to detect effect sizes of .19 of a standard deviation at =0.05.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
UZH Ethics Board
IRB Approval Date
2016-05-22
IRB Approval Number
Na
Analysis Plan
Analysis Plan Documents
Basic income pap

MD5: bfa36caa9da6e0241a1526771ec83041

SHA1: 7eeee7f67194f7881e05d6279baa3bb723946344

Uploaded At: June 05, 2016

PAP online Experiment

MD5: 03b2bc7afe79a8531d2be15087eb192d

SHA1: 55f1695c6f9e283002697b480390064e13891053

Uploaded At: December 08, 2016

Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is 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