Fact-Checking Politicians

Last registered on January 28, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Fact-Checking Politicians
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0006432
Initial registration date
January 27, 2022

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
January 28, 2022, 10:54 AM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Rome Tor Vergata

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Sapienza University of Rome
PI Affiliation
University of Bologna

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2020-06-29
End date
2023-12-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
The accuracy of voters’ beliefs is crucial for the efficiency of democracy. Yet, “fake news” and “alternative facts” are gaining prominence in politics (Alcott & Gentzkow, 2017). May fact-checking be a viable response to the spread of misinformation? The project aims to shed light on this issue by looking at whether and how Italian MPs respond to fact-checking of their statements. The research design will rely on a novel randomized field experiment in collaboration with the leading Italian fact-checking company.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Mattozzi, Andrea, Samuel Nocito and Francesco Sobbrio. 2022. "Fact-Checking Politicians." AEA RCT Registry. January 28. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6432
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
In order to avoid experimenter demand effects, we describe this in the field that will not become public until after the experiment is over.
Intervention Start Date
2020-10-07
Intervention End Date
2021-07-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The outcomes of interest will be a number of observable metrics measuring the quality and type of statements by the politicians before and after the intervention such as: 1) number of statements; 2) number of fact-checkable statements; 3) truthfulness of fact-checkable statements; 4) sentiment and topic analyses of statements. The universe of statements released by politicians will be collected from leading Italian national press agencies.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The study will consist of an econometric analysis of the data gathered during the randomized experiment. Specifically, the project will implement a difference-in-differences (DID) setting that will allow to estimate the causal effect of fact-checking on politicians’ behavior relative to the pre-treatment period and compared to our control group of “non-fact checked” politicians.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
The randomization will be done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Two levels of randomization: 1) Individual politician 2) Statement of selected politician
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Around 60 politicians for 16 weeks (total panel obs. around 960)
Sample size: planned number of observations
Around 60 politicians for 16 weeks (total panel obs. around 960)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
50 control politicians followed for 16 weeks; 10 treated politician (one per intervention week for ten weeks)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Ethics Committee, Luiss University
IRB Approval Date
2020-05-29
IRB Approval Number
N/A