Racial Animus and Support for Labor Market Policies

Last registered on June 24, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Racial Animus and Support for Labor Market Policies
Initial registration date
June 06, 2024

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
June 24, 2024, 12:19 PM EDT

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


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Primary Investigator

Middlebury College

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.
Once African Americans gained access to public provisions ---such as swimming pools, parks, and desegregated education--- support for these public provisions declined. A nascent literature argues that racism and a backlash to the civil rights movement also contributed to the decline in the U.S. social safety net. Using two parallel experiments, we study the causal effects of providing information about the number of Black people receiving welfare and unemployment insurance benefits on support for these policies. We use measures of individual confidence in their pre-treatment beliefs to measure treatment intensity and study the interaction of the treatment with individual-level racial bias, both explicit and implicit. Decreased program support following information that there are more Black recipients than expected (compared to a control) indicates a causal relationship between racism and policy preferences.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Carpenter, Jeffrey. 2024. "Racial Animus and Support for Labor Market Policies." AEA RCT Registry. June 24. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.13774-1.0
Experimental Details


Randomly providing true information about the racial composition of TANF and Unemployment Insurance recipients to a subset of participants and observing subsequent support for these programs.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
For each experiment, there are two primary outcomes, measured at the end of the second part of the experiment. The first is (unincentivized) policy support: ``Compared to current levels, you think that welfare (unemployment) benefits should be ...," with responses collected using a slider ranging from -100\% (end the benefits) to +100\% (double them). The second is intended to reduce possible experimenter demand effects and to provide a real-stakes signal of support of welfare (unemployment) programs: participants will be able to donate some fraction of a second $1 bonus to another randomly selected participant who has either received cash assistance sometime during the last five years in the welfare experiment or to someone who has collected unemployment benefits sometime during the last five years in the unemployment insurance experiment.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
After first eliciting explicit and implicit measures of discrimination, online participants will be randomly assigned to either 1) receive information about the racial composition of recipients of TANF and unemployment insurance or 2) receive no information. Following this treatment, we elicit their support for TANF and unemployment insurance.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization into treatment arms is performed by Qualtrics
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Approximately 2800 individuals.
Sample size: planned number of observations
Approximately 2800 individuals.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Between 600 and 700 observations for each of 4 experimental arms (Experimental arms: TANF treatment; TANF control; Unemployment Insurance Treatment; Unemployment Insurance Control)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
With the approval of the Middlebury College IRB (Protocol 125, Policy views and beliefs about racial composition), we conducted a pilot experiment in December of 2023 with a total of 380 participants who did parts one and two of the experiment. Our power calculations, based on the results of this pilot, are consistent with the rule of thumb offered in Haaland et al. (2023), who suggest gathering enough observations to detect a 0.15 standard deviation effect (with power = 0.8, significance = 0.05). Using this benchmark, our pilot indicates that we should gather between 600 and 700 observations per experimental arm or a total of approximately 2800.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Middlebury College
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Protocol #125
Analysis Plan

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