College students from ITAM, a private university in Mexico, took part in two short online surveys between October 13th and December 8th, 2015.
In the first survey, they selected the state they had the strongest connection to, as well as the region that they thought corresponded to that state. In addition, they were asked about their national and regional attachment (each on a 5-point Likert scale), how they ranked the states by income levels, and sociodemographic characteristics. This information was used to define subjects' regions, select rich and poor states within the in-region and out-region, and randomly choose one state from each of those subsets. It was also used to identify regionalists (those more attached to their region) and nationalists (those not more attached to their region).
A second survey was conducted at least two weeks after the first. Subjects who entered the second survey were assigned to a treatment that was either an in-region or out-region state with or without a nationalist prime. We blocked on regional identity, and randomized whether they were assigned a rich or poor state within their region in order to improve balance.
Subjects in the endline survey were exposed to a donation petition towards helping child development efforts in their assigned state. The donation petition are cards which feature the name of the NGO, three indigenous children and the caption `Thanks for nourishing the children of [Name of state]'. The card varies on two dimensions: the name of the state, and whether or not it contains nationalist colors. The nationalist colors, which are the colors of the flag, replace the teal color of the alternative version in the card's frame and in the letters of the name of the state.
The endline survey had four types of questions. The first type of question was meant to get at whether the prime brought the nation to the top of mind, and whether it was informative. To get at top-of-mindedness, we asked an open ended word association question. We allowed subjects to give five answers. To get at informativeness of the prime, we asked questions regarding the efficiency of the NGO, the political parties ruling the state, organizations tied to the NGO, the poverty level of the state, and the poverty of the beneficiaries, as well as about the perceived attractiveness of the card.
The second type of question was meant to test for allocation decisions. We had two variables to capture this. The first was a dictator game, in which subjects were told that, in case they won a 100 peso prize, they could allocate any part of the prize to beneficiaries from the donation petition. About 10\% of subjects received the prize, which was raffled among all endline participants. The second question was about redistribution. We asked how in favor they were of a policy that would tax the nation and whose benefits were concentrated on the state they were assigned.
The third type of question asked about cognition. We wanted a question that got at whether the prime made subjects think of the state differently with the prime. In order to do so, our main question is `When you think of [Name of state], is it easier for you to think of it as part of a region or as part of Mexico?'. We asked this question not only of the assigned state, but of the three other states that would have been assigned to the subject had she been in alternative treatment arms. A second question we asked was whether they thought the state is similar to other states in Mexico.
The fourth type of question asked the same regional and nationalist attachment questions as in the baseline. We did not want subjects to answer based on their memory of what they answered in the baseline, which is part of why the endline survey came two weeks after the baseline.