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Sentencing Disparity and Trust
Last registered on June 18, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Sentencing Disparity and Trust
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0005374
Initial registration date
May 15, 2020
Last updated
June 18, 2020 5:30 AM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2020-05-16
End date
2020-05-27
Secondary IDs
Abstract
I propose a survey experiment to answer the question as to whether (information about) sentencing disparity among judges affects public trust in institutions. In particular, I provide citizens with statistics about sentencing decisions, and in doing so, I exogenously vary the presenting court and, thus, the magnitude of the observed sentencing disparity. The source of variation comes from the fact that sentencing disparity among judges within a court differs across courts, i.e., while at some courts, there is significant sentencing disparity; at others, there is no sentencing disparity observed. The intended measurable outcomes include a mix of self-reported and behavioral measures that focus on institutional trust (towards legal systems and other institutions) and other economic outcomes that are likely affected by institutional trust: willingness to apply to the court, demand for alternative dispute resolution, and policy preferences. This project thus addresses an important topic of the causes of institutional (dis)trust and aims to contribute to the discussion that has recently become of high relevance for policymakers.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Šoltés, Michal. 2020. "Sentencing Disparity and Trust." AEA RCT Registry. June 18. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5374-2.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
I provide citizens with statistics about sentencing decisions, and in doing so, I exogenously vary the presenting court and, thus, the magnitude of the observed sentencing disparity.
Intervention Start Date
2020-05-16
Intervention End Date
2020-05-27
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
- self-reported measures of institutional trust (legal system, public broadcasting, police, government)
- willingness to sign a petition
- demand for alternative dispute resolution
- perception of fairness
- willingness to apply to courts
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
I provide citizens with statistics about sentencing decisions, and in doing so, I exogenously vary the presenting court and, thus, the magnitude of the observed sentencing disparity. The source of variation comes from the fact that sentencing disparity among judges within a court differs across courts, i.e., while at some courts, there is significant sentencing disparity; at others, there is no sentencing disparity observed. The intended measurable outcomes include a mix of self-reported and behavioral measures that focus on institutional trust (towards legal systems and other institutions) and other economic outcomes that are likely affected by institutional trust: willingness to apply to the court, demand for alternative dispute resolution, and policy preferences.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
done by a computer
Randomization Unit
individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
2400 expected
Sample size: planned number of observations
2400 individuals expected
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1200 in both treatment arms
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
CERGE (Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education)
IRB Approval Date
2020-02-03
IRB Approval Number
N/A
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
May 27, 2020, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
May 27, 2020, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
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, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS