Political Identity: Experimental Evidence on Anti-Americanism in Pakistan
Last registered on May 02, 2017


Trial Information
General Information
Political Identity: Experimental Evidence on Anti-Americanism in Pakistan
Initial registration date
May 02, 2017
Last updated
May 02, 2017 2:31 PM EDT
Primary Investigator
University of Chicago
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
UC San Diego and NBER
PI Affiliation
UC-Berkeley Haas and NBER
PI Affiliation
Lahore University of Management Science
PI Affiliation
New York University
PI Affiliation
Sao Paulo School of Economics and FGV
Additional Trial Information
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
We identify Pakistani men’s willingness to pay to preserve their anti-American identity using an experiment imposing clearly-specified financial costs on anti-American expression, with minimal consequential or social considerations. Around one-quarter of subjects forgo payments from the U.S. government worth around one-fifth of a day's wage to avoid an identity-threatening choice: anonymously checking a box indicating gratitude toward the U.S. government. When subjects anticipate that rejection will be observable, rejection falls, suggesting that pressure to conform outweighs the need to publicly signal one's identity. A second experiment correlates rejection of the U.S. payment with membership in Pakistan's major anti-American political party.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Bursztyn, Leonardo et al. 2017. "Political Identity: Experimental Evidence on Anti-Americanism in Pakistan." AEA RCT Registry. May 02. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2024/history/17139
Experimental Details
The intervention seeks to understand the intrinsic utility from one's political identity. In a first experiment, we hope to disentangle identity-drive motives from social motives by providing varying economic incentives. In this particular study, we identify individuals with anti-American identities and analyze how those identities change with private financial cost and in various social contexts. In a second experiment, we aim to estimate the correlation between our measure of anti-americanism and political affiliation.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
anti-Americanism (measured by acceptance of bonus payment)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The intervention consists of two experiments.

The first experiment was conducted in Pakistan in July 2013 with 1,152 individuals, Pakistani men aged between 18 and 35. They were asked to complete a survey and then offered a bonus which required checking a box expressing gratitude or checking a box declining the payment. The experiment randomly varied three separate components of the form, at the individual level, in a 2x2x2 design:

- The identity of the funding agency: the U.S. government or the Lahore University of management Sciences (a Pakistani university).

- The expectation of privacy: subjects were led to believe that their bonus payment acceptance decision would be observed by other experimental participants, or would be completely private.

- The amount of money offered: 100 Pakistani Rupees or 500 Pakistani Rupees.

The results from this experiment indicate that, when individuals act privately, approximately 25.2% of participants forgo 100 Rs because checking the box to thank the U.S. government would undermine their self-image, compared to rejection rate of 8.4% from LUMS in the private condition. When subjects anticipate that their behavior will be public, significantly fewer individuals rejected the bonus, suggesting that, in this context, a desire to conform to the majority behavior dominates any anticipated pressure from anti-American individuals. Finally, only around 10% of subjects forgo a 500 Pakistani Rupees from the U.S. government, suggesting that, even among individuals with deeply-help political identity, there is a "downward-sloping demand curve" for expression.

The second experiment was conducted in September and October 2015. In a first step of this experiment, 1,991 individuals in Lahore, Pakistan, participated in a household survey. In this first step, individuals were asked about their political affiliations. In the second step of this experiment, 1,212 of these individuals completed a 10-question survey on the Android tablet. Then, approximately half of them were offered a 100 Rs. bonus payment from the U.S. government, while the other half of them were asked direct questions about their views on the U.S. government and on the U.S. government aid to Pakistan.

Results indicate a rejection rate of 34%, similar to the findings in the first experiment. There is also an economically and statistically significant association between membership in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party (Pakistan's primary anti-American party) and rejection of the bonus payment offer. In contrast, there is no correlation between stated anti-Americanism and PTI membership.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Not specified
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
First experiment: 1,152 individuals Second experiment: 1,991 individuals in stage 1 and 1,212 respondents in stage 2
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
First experiment: 144 subjects in each of the 8 treatment conditions.
Second experiment: 611 subjects answered the reveled preference question, while 601 subjects answered the stated preferences question.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
October 21, 2015, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Data Collection Completion Date
May 09, 2016, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
First experiment: 1,152 individuals
Second experiment: 1,991 individuals in stage 1 and 1,212 respondents in stage 2
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
First experiment: 144 subjects in each of the 8 treatment conditions. Second experiment: 611 subjects answered the reveled preference question, while 601 subjects answered the stated preferences question.
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers