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

Locations

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

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
May 27, 2020, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
May 27, 2020, 12:00 +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