Disaggregating the Effects of Deliberation on Policy Attitudes in the United States

Last registered on November 26, 2016

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Disaggregating the Effects of Deliberation on Policy Attitudes in the United States
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0001503
Initial registration date
November 26, 2016
Last updated
November 26, 2016, 10:21 AM EST

Locations

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Columbia University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Stanford University
PI Affiliation
University of Texas at Austin
PI Affiliation
Princeton University
PI Affiliation
Yale University
PI Affiliation
London School of Economics

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2002-01-01
End date
2002-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Using data from a randomized field experiment within a Deliberative Poll, we examine deliberations effects on both policy attitudes and the extent to which ordinal rankings of policy options approach single peakedness (a help in avoiding cyclical majorities). The issues were airport expansion and revenue-sharing in New Haven, Connecticut and its surrounding towns. Half the participants deliberated revenue-sharing, then the airport, the other half the reverse. This split-half design enables us to distinguish the effects of the formal on-site deliberations from those of other aspects of the Deliberative Polling treatment. We find that the formal on-site deliberations accounted for much of the Deliberative Polling effect on one issue, though not the other—thus both confirming deliberations capacity to shape attitudes and preferences and raising the question of how its effects may depend on the kind of issue being deliberated. We suggest that deliberations effects are larger for less salient issues.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
, et al. 2016. "Disaggregating the Effects of Deliberation on Policy Attitudes in the United States." AEA RCT Registry. November 26. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1503-1.0
Former Citation
, et al. 2016. "Disaggregating the Effects of Deliberation on Policy Attitudes in the United States." AEA RCT Registry. November 26. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1503/history/12029
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2002-03-01
Intervention End Date
2002-03-03

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Changes in Single-Peakedness, Information Gains


Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This study reports on a Deliberative Poll designed to estimate the specific contribution of the formal on-site deliberation. In an enfolded randomized experiment, the participants are randomly assigned to deliberate one or the other of two distinct policy issues, then answer the same questions as when first interviewed and recruited, then deliberate the other issue, then answer the same questions again.

To isolate the effects of the formal on-site deliberations, a randomized field experiment was built into a Deliberative Poll. A random sample drawn from the fifteen towns surrounding New Haven, Connecticut, deliberated two issues: the level of service to be provided by the local airport and what if any sharing there should be of property-tax revenues from new commercial development.

At the beginning of the weekend, the participants were randomly assigned to one of sixteen small groups, and the small groups in turn randomly assigned to one of the two possible orders in which the two issues could be deliberated. Eight groups (containing 64 participants) deliberated the airport Saturday morning and revenue-sharing Saturday afternoon, the other eight (containing 68 participants) the reverse. These two treatment groups are denoted as “A-first” and “R-first,” respectively. The formal on-site deliberations consisted of three “deliberative sessions,” each involving both small-group discussions and plenary questions-and-answers with panels of policy experts and advocates. The first two sessions, occupying the whole of Saturday, concentrated on one issue apiece, with the first confined to the airport for the A-first treatment group and to revenue-sharing for the R-first treatment group, and the second to revenue-sharing for the A-first group and to the airport for the R-first group. The third, on Sunday morning, was more synoptic, with all the participants revisiting both issues in their small groups and then questioning a panel of local and state officials about both.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Done by survey firm
Randomization Unit
individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
(no clusters)
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,032 individuals interviewed, of whom 132 participated in deliberative poll
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
A-first: 64 individuals

R-first: 68 individuals
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Study has received IRB approval. Details not available.
IRB Approval Date
Details not available
IRB Approval Number
Details not available

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

There are documents in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access to this information.

Request Information

Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
March 03, 2002, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
March 03, 2002, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
(no clusters)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
132 individuals participated in deliberative poll
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
A-first: 64 individuals R-first: 68 individuals
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Abstract
Using data from a randomized field experiment within a Deliberative Poll, we examine
deliberations effects on both policy attitudes and the extent to which ordinal rankings of policy
options approach single-peakedness (a help in avoiding cyclical majorities). The issues were
airport expansion and revenue-sharing in New Haven, Connecticut and its surrounding towns.
Half the participants deliberated revenue-sharing, then the airport, the other half the reverse.
This split-half design enables us to distinguish the effects of the formal on-site deliberations from
those of other aspects of the Deliberative Polling treatment. We find that the formal on-site
deliberations accounted for much of the Deliberative Polling effect on one issue, though not the
other—thus both confirming deliberations capacity to shape attitudes and preferences and
raising the question of how its effects may depend on the kind of issue being deliberated. We
suggest that deliberations effects are larger for less salient issues.
Citation
Farrar, Cynthia, James S. Fishkin, Donald P. Green, Christian List, Robert C. Luskin, and Elizabeth Levy Paluck. 2010. "Disaggregating Deliberation’s Effects: An Experiment within a Deliberative Poll." British Journal of Political Science 40(2): 333-347.

Reports & Other Materials