The Politics of Pandemics in Multiethnic Democracies: The Case of Ukraine and COVID-19

Last registered on April 13, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
The Politics of Pandemics in Multiethnic Democracies: The Case of Ukraine and COVID-19
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0005708
Initial registration date
April 10, 2020
Last updated
April 13, 2020, 12:21 PM EDT

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
George Washington University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
ZOiS
PI Affiliation
University of Manchester
PI Affiliation
National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2020-04-13
End date
2020-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This study consists of two randomized controlled trials (RCTs) designed to improve our understanding of the interaction between a health crisis and political behavior. Both are conducted as part of a nationally representative telephone survey of 2000 adult residents of Ukraine in mid-April 2000, early in the COVID-19 outbreak. The first RCT investigates three mechanisms through which a pandemic might impact the authority of political leaders (here measured as job approval). The second RCT investigates whether leaders’ political authority matters in being able to influence health-related behavior (different forms of social distancing) that might impact the spread of the virus. We are particularly interested in whether any of these effects are moderated by the ethnic identity of the respondent.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Hale, Henry et al. 2020. "The Politics of Pandemics in Multiethnic Democracies: The Case of Ukraine and COVID-19." AEA RCT Registry. April 13. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5708-1.0
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The first RCT involves approximately 80% of the sample of 2000 respondents, randomly dividing this 80% into 4 groups of about 400 each. The first group serves as a control and is not asked the first question in the trial at all, while the other three groups each receive a question that asks people to reflect on a different consideration widely linked to the COVID-19 pandemic: the intrinsic threat of the virus’s spread, economic threats associated with the virus crisis, and leaders’ performance in combating the virus. These three treatment groups are then asked to give the word that first comes to mind when thinking about this.

The second RCT, which comes after the first RCT in the interview, involves all 2000 respondents and randomly divides them into 4 groups of about 500 each. One group serves as the control and receives no prime. Among the treatment groups, one is primed to recall that “doctors” advise social distancing behavior, another is primed to recall that the country’s president advises social distancing behavior, and the third is primed to have in mind both the doctors’ and president’s advice.
Intervention Start Date
2020-04-13
Intervention End Date
2020-04-24

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The primary outcomes of interest in the first RCT are 11-point scales of approval for the following political leaders: president, prime minister, and mayor (head of the executive branch for the largest municipality in which one lives).

The primary outcomes of interest in the second RCT are 4-point scales capturing the degree to which people think the following behaviors are necessary in response to the COVID-19 virus: wearing a mask in public, staying at home (except for groceries, medicine, dog walking), and avoiding shaking hands with or kissing close friends or family who do not live with the respondent.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The larger outcomes of interest are the differences between the responses of the control and different treatment groups in both the first and second RCT. Also important for us are the differences in these differences by ethnic categories and macroregions of Ukraine.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The experiment (full text attached to this registry) is embedded in the regular “omnibus” survey of the highly reputable Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS). The survey is based on a stratified random sample with the strata being defined by the three-digit main operator prefixes and random generation of the rest of the number. Interviews will be conducted by phone using the CATI method.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization in the assignment of respondents to control and treatment groups is achieved through the randomization function in KIIS’s survey software.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
0
Sample size: planned number of observations
2000 adult residents of Ukraine
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
For the first RCT, there will be approximately 400 in the control group and 400 in each of the three treatment groups. For the second RCT, there will be approximately 500 in the control group and 500 in each of the three treatment groups.
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
George Washington University
IRB Approval Date
2020-04-08
IRB Approval Number
IRB#NCR202427
Analysis Plan

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Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials