Experimental Design Details
4 June 2018 - 9 June 2018
The investigation will be conducted through a field experiment with potential participants to the local elections of 10th June, 2018 in Italy. The methodology used to conduct the experiment is the computer assisted web interviewing system (CAWI), where the panelists are required to answer a set of 4 questions, in which the question on voting behavior varies depending on whether the individual panelist is assigned to the treatment or the control group.
The questions the panelists will be asked are the following:
1. (Qualifying question on municipality) - the questionnaire will only be available for completion if the participant is a resident of one of the municipalities for which we have been able to collect detailed candidate and list information;
2. Which is your preferred list for the local elections of 10th June 2018?
3a. Now, assuming you can vote for two candidates, independently of their gender, who would you vote for? (question 3 for the control group)
3b. Now, assuming you can vote for two candidates, one female and one male, who would you vote for? (question 3 for the treatment group)
4. Please tick the candidates you know personally, of the ones running for election in the municipal council.
5. If you have a partner, is your partner working in a remunerated employment outside the household?
In the questionnaire, participants are asked to tick their preference for a candidate from a list of candidates for the position of municipal council. To proceed in answering the questionnaire, they are obliged to select an option (or the relevant amount of options, in case they are asked for the two votes). Questions are arranged in decreasing order of importance.
The survey is completed by an italian company specialized in market research. The complete questionnaire related to the survey based on the questions above (in italian) will be made public as soon as the field experiment is completed. Panel participants have a monetary incentive to complete the questionnaire, and they are rewarded based on the number of questionnaires they successfully complete.
In addition to their age and gender, participants to the experiment are also asked:
(a) Whether they are personally acquainted with the candidate; and
(b) Given they have a partner, whether their partner works in a remunerated employment (outside the household).
These characteristics could influence the answer of the participants, and therefore, a characterization based on these variables will be added to the paper as a descriptive complement. The first factor influences the choice of candidates independent of gender, while the second factor might influence the preference for diversity within the candidates chosen. Recent evidence on the impact of personal interactions with candidates suggest that personal interaction with candidates affects the support received by individual candidates, although modestly (Cantoni & Pons, 2016). In addition, labour market participation of women may also affect voting behavior (Iversen & Rosenbluth, 2008) and is therefore included in the questionnaire. The prior is that personal knowledge of the candidate will shift support towards this candidate, and that and labor force participation of the spouse will increase preference for diversity.
Finally, another variable taken into account for the interpretation of results will be the difference between votes cast by participants in small municipalities (population <5000) compared to participants in large municipalities. The reason for this classification is participants from larger municipalities might already have framed the voting decision in terms of two candidates of a different gender, while participants in smaller municipalities, where the double preference voting conditioned on gender is not in place, might not have framed the voting decision in these terms.
Cantoni, E., & Pons, V. (2016). Do Interactions with Candidates Increase Voter Support and Participation?: Experimental Evidence from Italy (pp. 1-56). Harvard Business School.
Iversen, T., & Rosenbluth, F. (2008). Work and power: The connection between female labor force participation and female political representation. Annu. Rev. Polit. Sci., 11, 479-495.