Exposure to Political Violence and Preferences for Giving

Last registered on July 08, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Exposure to Political Violence and Preferences for Giving
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004418
Initial registration date
July 04, 2019
Last updated
July 08, 2019, 10:21 AM EDT

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Maryland

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Warwick

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2019-07-15
End date
2019-10-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Intra-state civil conflicts have replaced inter-state ones as the dominant forms of organized violence that shape our world. Civil conflicts are humanitarian disasters. They kill and injure millions of people, and leave many more destitute. In their detailed review on civil conflict literature, Blattman and Miguel (2010) argue existing studies on civil conflict only scratch the surface of the range of possible impacts on the economy and society, and we are still far from a complete understanding of the true extent of the damages civil conflicts inflict upon host societies. In this project we aim to contribute to that crucial understanding in very significant and important ways by focusing on how exposure to civil conflict violence impacts upon social preferences of individuals.

Civil conflicts expose individuals to gruesome violence either as witnesses, victims or perpetrators. Armed conflict environments create an acceptable climate for violence, reduce individuals’ inhibitions against violent acts, and lead to the normalization of violence in everyday life. It is very likely that such experiences affect people psychologically, and that these effects manifest themselves in different ways in interpersonal relations, and in economic and political life even long after the conflict is over. Nevertheless, there exist few studies analyzing individual level data on actual exposure to political violence in a civil conflict context to decipher the effects on behavior. This gap in the literature is mainly due to two major difficulties. The first difficulty stems from the problem of endogeneity. Individuals that are exposed to more violence may be the ones who choose to stay in the conflict area or even the ones who choose to take up arms and fight on the frontline in a civil conflict situation. The second difficulty is the scarcity of micro survey data from contemporary conflict and post-conflict societies. Conflict areas can be extremely dangerous places for researchers to conduct field work.

Our project overcomes these main difficulties. First, we discovered a novel way of identifying exogenous variation of exposure to violence. Our project will conduct a large scale survey and collect several measures of exposure to violence (including binary and continuous measures) in addition to many other important information on individuals. (Due to the sensitive nature of our project, until the project is completed, we will not disclose further information regarding our measures of violence exposure). Second, our survey will incorporate an incentivized field experiment on social preferences. We will first study whether exposure to violence is associated with social preferences. Also while half of individuals in our sample will decide how much to give to a poor family that lives in a non-conflict region, the other half will decide how much to give to a poor family that lives in a conflict region. Third, we are able to study distributional preferences of individuals by varying the price of giving and classifying individuals into different groups such as selfish, fair and efficiency oriented.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Kibris, Arzu and Neslihan Uler. 2019. "Exposure to Political Violence and Preferences for Giving." AEA RCT Registry. July 08. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4418-1.0
Former Citation
Kibris, Arzu, Neslihan Uler and Neslihan Uler. 2019. "Exposure to Political Violence and Preferences for Giving." AEA RCT Registry. July 08. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/4418/history/49446
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
In our control arm, individuals will be asked to make donation decisions to a needy family that is located in a non-conflict region. In our treatment arm, individuals will be asked to make donation decisions to a needy family that is located in a conflict region. Due to the sensitive nature of our project, until the project is completed, we will not disclose information on the specific regions we are using in our experiment.
We also have a within-subject variation. Each individual makes four giving decisions under different prices. This allows us to approximate the demand function for giving and classify individuals’ preferences into different categories such as selfish, fair and efficiency oriented.
Intervention Start Date
2019-07-15
Intervention End Date
2019-10-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Donations to the needy family
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The main questions we like to answer are:

1. What is the impact of violence exposure (using different measures of exposure) on donations to the needy family that is located in a non-conflict region?
2. What is the impact of violence exposure (using different measures of exposure) on donations to the needy family that is located in a conflict region?
3. Does the impact of violence exposure on donations differ when the needy family is located in a non-conflict region versus conflict region?
4. Do the above effects change with the price of giving?
5. What percentage of individuals can be classified as selfish, fair and efficiency oriented, and whether violence exposure affect the individual preferences for giving? For example, do individuals who are more exposed to violence become more selfish (relative to being fair or efficiency oriented)?

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Our experiment has two main dimensions of variation. First, half of the individuals will be matched with a needy family in a non-conflict region and the other half will be matched with a needy family in a conflict region. Individuals will be asked to make a donation to their matched family out of a fixed endowment. Second, we vary the price of giving. In particular, we ask individuals to make a donation decision four times under four different price conditions. In condition 1, needy family receives exactly the same amount of donations sent by the individuals. In condition 2, needy family receives twice the donations sent by the individuals (experimenters match the donations one-to-one). In condition 3, needy family receives three times the donations sent by the individuals (experimenters match the donations two-to-one). In condition 4, needy family receives only half of the donations sent by the individuals (half of the donations are not received by the needy family nor kept by the individual). In all the price conditions, whatever is not donated will be kept by the individual.
Our study provides real monetary incentives and an actual donation decision. Due to the difficulties involved in paying every participant, only one person will be randomly selected from the control arm and one person will be randomly selected from the treatment arm at the end of the study and will receive payment based on the decisions they make in the experiment. Note that only one price condition will be randomly selected to determine the payment of the individuals and the donations to be sent. While only two people are getting paid, the endowment is substantial, i.e., it equals approximately one month worth of minimum wage in the country that the study will take place.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Surveys will be conducted at residential addresses which have been randomly selected by the XXX Institute of Statistics from the Address Based Population Registry System that the Institute is maintaining.
Randomization Unit
Individual level
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
1250 Men
Sample size: planned number of observations
1250 men will make 4 decisions each.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
625 men will be in the control arm and 625 men will be in the treatment arm.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
European Research Council Executive Agency (ERCEA)
IRB Approval Date
2018-11-26
IRB Approval Number
ERC-STG-677627

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
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