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Surveying views among economists
Last registered on August 21, 2018

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Surveying views among economists
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003246
Initial registration date
August 17, 2018
Last updated
August 21, 2018 12:18 AM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Region
Region
Region
Region
Region
Region
Region
Region
Region
Region
Region
Region
Region
Region
Region
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of British Columbia
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2017-09-26
End date
2018-04-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Using a randomized controlled experiment involving economists in nineteen countries, we estimate the effect of ideological bias on views among economists. Participants were asked to evaluate statements from prominent economists on a wide range of topics. However, source attribution for each statement was randomized without participants’ knowledge. For each statement, participants either received the actual source, an altered ideologically-different source, or no source. We then measure whether economists agree/disagree with identical statements to different degrees when statements are attributed to authors (researchers) with different views (ideologies) which put them at different distances to mainstream economics. Traditional norms of modern science, such as organized skepticism and disinterestedness, are intended to make the identity of the source of an argument/research irrelevant (Merton 1973). Therefore, any evidence showing that changing the identity of sources affects how economists evaluate arguments will cast doubt on the notion that economists are objective scientists and are not influenced by ideological biases.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Javdani, Mohsen. 2018. "Surveying views among economists." AEA RCT Registry. August 21. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3246-1.0
Former Citation
Javdani, Mohsen. 2018. "Surveying views among economists." AEA RCT Registry. August 21. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3246/history/33282
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Participants were asked to evaluate statements from prominent economists on a wide range of topics. However, source attribution for each statement was randomized without participants’ knowledge. For each statement, participants either received the actual source, an altered ideologically-different source, or no source.
Intervention Start Date
2017-09-26
Intervention End Date
2018-04-01
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Agreement level with different statements
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
we ask participants in our online survey to evaluate statements from prominent (mainly mainstream) economists on a wide range of topics (e.g. fairness, inequality, role of government, intellectual property, globalization, free market pros and cons, economic methodology, women in economics, etc.). All participants receive identical statements in an identical sequence. However, source attribution provided for each statement is randomized without participants’ knowledge. For each statement, participants randomly receive either a mainstream source (Control Group), or a relatively less-/none-mainstream source (Treatment 1), or no source attribution (Treatment 2). We then measure whether economists agree/disagree with identical statements to different degrees when statements are attributed to authors (researchers) with different views (ideologies) which put them at different distances to mainstream economics. We interpret any results showing that changing the identity of sources affects how economists evaluate arguments as evidence of ideological bias.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Participants are asked to evaluate a series of statements presented to them by choosing one of the following options: strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, and strongly disagree. They are also asked to choose a confidence level on a scale from 1 to 5 for their selected answer. These statements are on a wide range of topics in economics and while they are mainly from prominent (mainstream) economists, most of them are critical, to different extents, of certain aspects of mainstream economics. All participants receive identical statements in an identical sequence. However, source attribution for each statement is randomized without participants’ knowledge. For each statement, participants randomly receive either a mainstream source (Control Group), or a relatively less-/none-mainstream source (Treatment 1), or no source attribution (Treatment 2). Participants who are randomized into treatment 2 for the first statement remain there for the entire survey. However, those who are randomized into control group or treatment 1 are subsequently re-randomized into one of these two groups for each following statement.
Experimental Design Details
Participants are asked to evaluate a series of statements presented to them by choosing one of the following options: strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, and strongly disagree. They are also asked to choose a confidence level on a scale from 1 to 5 for their selected answer. These statements are on a wide range of topics in economics and while they are mainly from prominent (mainstream) economists, most of them are critical, to different extents, of certain aspects of mainstream economics. All participants receive identical statements in an identical sequence. However, source attribution for each statement is randomized without participants’ knowledge. For each statement, participants randomly receive either a mainstream source (Control Group), or a relatively less-/none-mainstream source (Treatment 1), or no source attribution (Treatment 2). Participants who are randomized into treatment 2 for the first statement remain there for the entire survey. However, those who are randomized into control group or treatment 1 are subsequently re-randomized into one of these two groups for each following statement.
Randomization Method
Randomization is done by our online survey program.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
0
Sample size: planned number of observations
A few thousands.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Around 1000 individuals control (mainstream source for statements), Around 1000 individuals treatment 1 (less-/non-mainstream source for statements, Around 1000 individuals treatment 2 (no source for statements).
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Behavioural Research Ethics Board at the University of British Columbia
IRB Approval Date
2016-11-26
IRB Approval Number
H16-01480
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
April 01, 2018, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers