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Russian-American Relations Survey 2019
Last registered on July 19, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Russian-American Relations Survey 2019
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004461
Initial registration date
July 18, 2019
Last updated
July 19, 2019 12:03 PM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
George Washington University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Ohio State University
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2019-07-22
End date
2020-09-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This study contains eight survey experiments.

1. This list experiment (item count experiment) aims to produce an estimate of the share of people in the United States who have favorable opinions of Russia and the share of people in Russia who have favorable opinions of the United States while shielding them from social desirability pressures that might be involved in asking the question directly. By comparing the experiment’s result with the results of direct questioning about country favorability, we gain an estimate of the extent to which respondents are insincerely reporting their attitudes to the other country in direct questioning.

2. This study employs a priming experiment to assess the degree to which self-reported country favorability (specifically, of Russia in the US and of the US in Russia) can be manipulated by different primes. The primes are designed to convey bases for hostility (senses of threat and divergent interests) and bases for good relations (common threats, historic cooperation).

3. For Russia only, this experiment asks Russians about how they think their government should treat an entity that is described in randomly assigned ways as: the West, the EU, and the United States. The difference will shed light on the degree to which hostility toward the EU and US are both part of a broader anti-Westernism in Russia.

4. This priming experiment explores the extent to which preferences for compromise in the US and Russia on their mutual relations (both generally and on the case of the Ukraine conflict) can vary when people are led to have different considerations in mind. Considerations raised include the need to avoid catastrophic war, prospects for economic benefit, concern for ordinary people in countries that are the site of “proxy conflicts,” and the common enemy of terrorism.

5. This endorsement experiment, conducted in the US and Russia, examines the degree to which individuals’ attitudes to the other country’s president (favorability) are led by their own political leaders. In Russia, the treatment involves Putin’s praise of Trump. In the US, treatments involve Republican criticism of Putin, Trump’s praise of Putin, and Republican criticism and Trump’s praise together.

6. This endorsement experiment investigates whether self-reported attitudes in the US and Russia on the integrity of the other country’s top leadership are strongly led by media source. In Russia, treatments include exposure to reports by the state-owned First Channel and the independent Dozhd’ channel on corruption in the US leadership. In the US, treatments include exposure to reports by Fox News and the New York Times on corruption in the Russian leadership.

7. This experiment examines the degree to which election preferences are potentially influenced by US-Russian relations. Respondents are presented with candidates hypothetically on a presidential ballot for their own country and then with a list of parties likely to compete in their own country’s next national legislative election. Prior to the voting question, respondents are primed to have in mind foreign policy threats from the other country that are widely reported in media, warnings against intervention by the other country in one’s own country’s domestic politics that are often heard in media, common interests in avoiding nuclear war, and calls for simply normalizing relations between the two countries.

8. This priming experiment considers whether branding the current state of US-Russian relations as a “new cold war” primes individuals to favor or oppose policies of containment and cooperation.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Hale, Henry and Olga Kamenchuk. 2019. "Russian-American Relations Survey 2019." AEA RCT Registry. July 19. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4461-1.0.
Former Citation
Hale, Henry and Olga Kamenchuk. 2019. "Russian-American Relations Survey 2019." AEA RCT Registry. July 19. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/4461/history/50397.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
This study includes, along with a series of direct survey questions, eight survey experiments (priming, endorsement, list) designed to assess the sources, plasticity, and range of attitudes in the US and Russia regarding the other country and their international relations.
Intervention Start Date
2019-07-22
Intervention End Date
2019-07-29
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. The outcome variable is a count of the number of items with which each respondent agrees, without information about the specific items that make up this count for any given individual.

2. The outcome variable is a four-point scale of favorability for the US (for Russians) or Russia (for Americans).

3. The outcome variables are each four-point scales ranging from friendship to enmity when individuals are asked: how Russia should treat the US/EU/West, how the US/EU/West treats Russia, and what position on relations between Russia and the US/EU/West is held by different political actors in Russia.

4. The outcome variables each consist of a four-point agree-disagree scale on whether compromise is desirable generally and specifically (on the Ukraine conflict).

5. The outcome variable is a four-point scale of favorability for the US president (for Russians) or the Russian president (for Americans).

6. The outcome variable is a three-point scale on the level of perceived pervasiveness of corruption in the US (in Russia) or Russia (in the US).

7. The outcome variable is a voting intention question asking respondents to choose between a fixed list of possible candidates in the next presidential and national legislative elections.

8. The outcome variable is a four-point agree-disagree scale on two statements concerning the desirability of trying to contain the influence of the other country and pursuing cooperation despite disagreements.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
1. The outcome of primary interest is the difference in the counts produced by the control subsample (the one with only 4 non-sensitive items) and by the “treatment” subsample (where the fifth item is either the United States or Russia). This difference will enable the researcher to estimate the share of the population of Russia and the United States that have favorable opinions of the other country. Additionally, the difference in counts between the control subsample and the subsample with the fifth non-sensitive item (on finding money) will provide leverage in assessing the extent to which (or whether) the outcome of primary interest (country favorability) is driven by the addition of the item of interest (the name of the country) as opposed to other features of the experimental design.

2. The outcome of primary interest consists of the differences in the frequencies of choices from among the response options among the different treatment subsamples, and the degree to which differences are stronger or weaker depending on (moderated by) factors including age, gender, education, nationality, the extent to which people are informed about foreign affairs, media consumption patterns, prior exposure to the other country, economic perceptions, and partisanship.

3. The outcome of primary interest is the degree to which switching reference points among the US, the EU, and the West generates differences in the probability of responses denoting hostility.

4. The outcome of primary interest consists of the differences in the frequencies of choices from among the response options among the different treatment subsamples, and the degree to which differences are stronger or weaker depending on (moderated by) factors including age, gender, education, nationality, the extent to which people are informed about foreign affairs, media consumption patterns, prior exposure to the other country, economic perceptions, partisanship, and self-reported favorability to Russia/US.

5. The outcome of primary interest consists of the differences in the frequencies of choices from among the response options among the different treatment subsamples, and the degree to which differences are stronger or weaker depending on (moderated by) factors including age, gender, education, nationality, the extent to which people are informed about foreign affairs, media consumption patterns, prior exposure to the other country, economic perceptions, partisanship, and self-reported favorability to Russia/US.

6. The outcome of primary interest consists of the differences in the frequencies of choices from among the response options among the different treatment subsamples, and the degree to which differences are stronger or weaker depending on (moderated by) factors including age, gender, education, nationality, the extent to which people are informed about foreign affairs, media consumption patterns, prior exposure to the other country, economic perceptions, partisanship, and self-reported favorability to Russia/US.

7. The outcome of primary interest consists of the differences in the frequencies of choices from among the response options among the different treatment subsamples, and the degree to which differences are stronger or weaker depending on (moderated by) factors including age, gender, education, nationality, the extent to which people are informed about foreign affairs, media consumption patterns, prior exposure to the other country, economic perceptions, partisanship, and self-reported favorability to Russia/US.

8. The outcome of primary interest consists of the differences in the frequencies of choices from among the response options among the different treatment subsamples, and the degree to which differences are stronger or weaker depending on (moderated by) factors including age, gender, education, nationality, the extent to which people are informed about foreign affairs, media consumption patterns, prior exposure to the other country, economic perceptions, partisanship, and self-reported favorability to Russia/US.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The experiments are embedded in nationally representative surveys of the United States and Russia, conducted by well-known survey agencies in each country using their standard sampling techniques. Interviews in Russia are by phone and interviews in the US are by online panel.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization of treatment assignments will be accomplished in the US using the randomization function in YouGov’s proprietary software, and in Russia by VCIOM using the randomization function in the software SurveyStudio.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Treatment is not clustered
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,600 adult residents of the Russian Federation and 1,600 adult residents of the United States
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1. For the US and Russia each: Approximately 530 control and 530 for each for the two treatments

2. For the US and Russia each: Approximately 320 control, 320 each for the four treatments

3. For Russia only: Approximately 530 control and 530 for each for the two treatments

4. For the US and Russia each: Approximately 320 control, 320 each for the four treatments

5. For the US: Approximately 400 control, 400 for each of the three treatments; for Russia: Approximately 800 each

6. For the US and Russia each: Approximately 530 control and 530 for each for the two treatments

7. For the US and Russia each: Approximately 320 control, 320 each for the four treatments

8. For the US and Russia each: Approximately 800 control, 800 for the treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
George Washington University
IRB Approval Date
2019-06-27
IRB Approval Number
NCR191263
Analysis Plan

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