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An online voter registration experiment with Indian citizens living abroad
Last registered on November 22, 2016

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
An online voter registration experiment with Indian citizens living abroad
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0001801
Initial registration date
November 22, 2016
Last updated
November 22, 2016 11:53 PM EST
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of California, Berkeley
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
George Washington University, Washington DC
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2016-11-21
End date
2017-01-08
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The objective of the research is to study the political participation of (international) migrants and we are particularly interested in the impact of messaging on voter registration and turnout. The GOTV literature has focused on testing rational choice and social psychological theories and finds that social pressure, pride, and shaming messages have large effects. However, much of this literature is US- and Europe-centric. On the other hand, there's an active literature that has studied the motivations for turnout in the Indian context but these haven’t been experimentally evaluated.

We hope that our study will lie at the intersection of these two literatures. We wish to empirically examine the causal impact of an informational campaign that not only emphasizes the messages noted in the academic literature but to also test for the effect of patriotism (by invoking the image of the national flag) on participation.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Dar, Aaditya and Rahul Verma. 2016. "An online voter registration experiment with Indian citizens living abroad." AEA RCT Registry. November 22. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1801-1.0.
Former Citation
Dar, Aaditya, Rahul Verma and Rahul Verma. 2016. "An online voter registration experiment with Indian citizens living abroad." AEA RCT Registry. November 22. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1801/history/11945.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The main intervention is to randomly prime randomly selected individuals to register to vote along the following themes:
1) patriotism (positive - love)
2) patriotism (negative - guilt)
3) civic duty
4) government helps in times of need
5) generic message (placebo)
6) CONTROL - no message
Intervention Start Date
2016-11-21
Intervention End Date
2017-01-08
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
A) Voter registration
B) Voter engagement
C) A proxy for voter turnout
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Registration - % of respondents who click on “complete Form 6A now” button and % of those who actually register. In India, registration records (name, age and sex) are public and this information will be tracked and used as the primary outcome variable.

Engagement - % of respondents who complete online and offline activities. Note: the engagement index will serve as the intermediate variable and shall be derived by creating a cumulative score based on respondents' action/initiatives.

Turnout proxy - % of respondents who submit an “e-ballot” (An e-ballot is a blank postal ballot paper which is emailed to the voter, who then has to fill it and return it by post to the election management body.)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The intervention will have 5 treatment arms and one control group that receives no informational messages. A brief baseline survey will be conducted and the following information areas will be covered:
● Knowledge
◦ Awareness of the registration process in general
◦ Awareness of registration process as an overseas elector
● Attitude
◦ Likelihood of participation in elections
● Practice
◦ Having a voter ID card
◦ Whether voted in elections before
◦ Reasons for not voting
● Basic demographic information (country of residence, age, sex, occupation and education)
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done by a computer
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
NA
Sample size: planned number of observations
The targeted sample size is: 1000 x 6 = 6,000
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1,000 individuals in each of the 5 treatment arms and 1,000 individuals in control.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
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