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An Experimental Study of Political Expertise and the Democratic Ideal
Last registered on November 05, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
An Experimental Study of Political Expertise and the Democratic Ideal
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004981
Initial registration date
November 04, 2019
Last updated
November 05, 2019 9:39 AM EST
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Florida State University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Rochester
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2019-11-05
End date
2020-06-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
How does the level of political expertise among voters affect the quality of democratic choice? The answer to this question underlies one of the key hallmarks of representative democracy, namely, whether individuals with the best knowledge of political issues and policies are the ones who ultimately make political decisions. We propose experiments that will address this question by investigating the quality of democratic choice made by individual voters who have the same goals and studying how changes in the level of expertise among voters affect the quality of democratic choice and voters' willingness to participate in elections. Using a novel experimental design we will directly elicit voters' willingness to vote which will allow us to examine several distinct collective action issues that arise in democratic decision-making.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Ou, Kai and Scott Tyson. 2019. "An Experimental Study of Political Expertise and the Democratic Ideal." AEA RCT Registry. November 05. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4981-1.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We will change the level of political expertise in the laboratory.
Intervention Start Date
2019-11-06
Intervention End Date
2020-06-01
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Whether an individual voter decides to participate in voting and what the maximum cost they would like to take to make their vote count
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We will conduct laboratory experiments and use undergraduate student subjects to investigate how the change of level of political expertise affects voting decisions and the quality of democratic choice.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
We will use undergraduate student subjects in our laboratory experiments. 120 subjects will be randomly recruited from a subject pool in which there are more than 3000 registered subjects. The recruited subjects will be randomly assigned to treatments and sessions.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
120 subjects
Sample size: planned number of observations
3600 observations will be generated from 120 subjects playing voting games for 30 rounds
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
60 subjects for High Expertise Treatment
60 subjects for Low Expertise Treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Florida State University
IRB Approval Date
2019-10-22
IRB Approval Number
n/a