x

Please fill out this short user survey of only 3 questions in order to help us improve the site. We appreciate your feedback!
COVID-19 and Climate Shocks: Gendered effects on political preferences & behavior
Last registered on October 21, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
COVID-19 and Climate Shocks: Gendered effects on political preferences & behavior
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0006469
Initial registration date
September 19, 2020
Last updated
October 21, 2020 10:14 AM EDT
Location(s)

This section is unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access to this information.

Request Information
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Boston University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Harvard University
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2020-11-02
End date
2022-04-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The goal of this study is to understand the differential impact of two types of crises, climate change-induced disasters and Covid-19, on women's (as opposed to men's) political preferences and behavior in Bangladesh. Each exogenous shock disproportionately increases the risks and responsibilities women bear for ensuring personal and familial survival, with divergent structural impacts that may either expand or diminish the scope of female agency, respectively. We expect that each exogenous shock will alter women's preferences for redistribution. However, a given woman's ability to translate new preferences into collective action in favor of institutional or policy changes should vary based on the nature of the shock(s) to which she is exposed. Our intuition follows evidence that state-led redistribution of wealth is triggered by mass conscription for war, which disproportionately harms the least wealthy (Scheve and Stasavage, 2016, 2012). If exposure to the crisis of climate change-induced weather shocks---and Covid-19---operates similarly to conflict-based crisis, it should encourage those who pay the highest cost - here, women - to demand fundamental redistribution - here, a greater share of political, economic, and social resources.
Registration Citation
Citation
Brule, Rachel and Akshay Dixit. 2020. "COVID-19 and Climate Shocks: Gendered effects on political preferences & behavior." AEA RCT Registry. October 21. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6469-1.3.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We have developed a survey instrument that will be deployed next month via short phone surveys. These phone surveys will be conducted with a sample 3,000 respondents from 1,500 households, balanced by gender and residence in one of three divisions with varied exposure to climate shocks and Covid-19: Rangpur, Dhaka, or Chittagong. We are also collecting a panel of high-frequency local geospatial data on weather patterns that will enable objective identification of climate shocks at a micro-level, which we will merge with self-collected data on unique forms of gendered preferences, intra-household behavior, engagement with the state, and collective action.
Intervention Start Date
2020-11-02
Intervention End Date
2021-06-01
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
We are interested in studying the impact of shocks on political behavior. This includes preferences for systemic change, support for political (collective) action to improve welfare (personally and by others), willingness to support daughters and sons' economic advancement, self-reported political engagement. Specifically, we focus on three sets of questions: first, we ask concrete questions about the state's response to Covid-19, including: personal receipt of cash or food transfers from the state, assessments of the government's response to Covid-19, and participation in discussions about the government's response. Second, we ask about personal involvement in discrete acts of civic engagement or requests for assistance by state officials or local leaders. Third, we inquire about support for costly forms of political behavior outside the domain of party politics, both by individual respondents and any support of costly political behavior they expect others in their area might be willing to provide.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We hypothesize that climate- or covid-shocks affect women's political preferences and behavior, as well as attitudes towards women's political participation, by altering the following:
1. Women's burdens for household survival: Relatively to pre-crisis levels, shocks may magnify female domestic responsibilities, for instance providing food, water or care. Shocks may also present a need for women to engage in economic activity and generate resources. Further, these shocks may disproportionately increase the risks and responsibilities women bear (relative to men) for ensuring personal and familial survival.
2. Domain of women's agency: Chiefly, shocks can alter women's agency by changing the proportion of household income earned by women, the composition of the household and women's involvement in household decision-making.

The testable hypotheses that follow from the above are as follows:
H1. Climate shocks increase women's burdens for household survival and the domain
of their agency, thereby:
(a) increasing women's preferences for change
(b) changing the perception of political participation as \allowable" for women
(c) increasing women's political demands

H2. COVID-19 shocks increase women's burdens for household survival but reduce
the domain of their agency, thereby:
(a) increasing women's preferences for change
(b) leaving perceptions of political participation as \allowable" for women unchanged
(c) reducing women's political demands

Note that overall, the combined effect of climate shocks and COVID-19 on women's political participation is theoretically ambiguous. Our expectation is that, where both shocks apply, the relative magnitude of each shock's impact on the scope of gendered agency will predict which shock drives gendered political preferences and behavior.

The dynamic underlying these hypotheses is that these crises affect political outcomes based on how they alter economic livelihoods, as well as gendered patterns of migration and economic opportunity. Specifically, we expect that climate change-induced disasters are likely to induce male out-migration (from rural to urban areas) and pressure both men and women to generate new income. If so, female economic (and social) contributions to the household should increase alongside their financial autonomy post-crises, opening new opportunities for women's political engagement and an impetus to rethink traditional (political, social, and economic) preferences.

In contrast, we expect the COVID-19 crisis increases reverse migration (men returning from urban to rural areas) and reduces economic opportunities, particularly for women. In this case, female economic contributions and autonomy should diminish in the wake of COVID-19, reducing opportunities for women's political engagement and increasing pressure to support traditional preferences. The simultaneous experience of both crises
may either magnify both the impetus and capacity for women's political engagement--if, for instance both COVID-19 and climate shocks are perceived as unjustly diminishing women's current economic returns relative to female expectations pre-crisis, and these shocks simultaneously expand demands for women to contribute more to their households, broadening their agency to collectively reshape future opportunities--or, where COVID- 19 is most severe, rigidly-enforced lockdowns may dominate household calculations and thus magnify the restrictions on women's political engagement.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondarily, we will map the impact of shocks in four distinct ways:
(1) How well do geo-spatially identified climate shocks map self-ascribed shocks?
(2) Does exposure to (geo-spatially identified) climate shocks alter household-level burdens and gendered patterns of individual-level burdens, labor market
participation, and labor migration?
(3) Does exposure to Covid-19 shocks (measured by the geographic spread in numbers of cases and fatalities) alter household-level burdens and gendered patterns of individual-level burdens, labor market participation, and labor migration?
(4) How do shocks (climate and Covid-19) alter contemporary gendered investments in children's schooling (under what conditions does disruption lead to dropouts)?
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
The dynamic underlying these hypotheses is that these crises affect political outcomes based on how they alter economic livelihoods, as well as gendered patterns of migration and economic opportunity. Specifically, we expect that climate change-induced disasters are likely to induce male out-migration (from rural to urban areas) and pressure both men and women to generate new income. If so, female economic (and social) contributions to the household should increase alongside their financial autonomy post-crises, opening new opportunities for women's political engagement and an impetus to rethink traditional (political, social, and economic) preferences.
In contrast, we expect the COVID-19 crisis increases reverse migration (men returning from urban to rural areas) and reduces economic opportunities, particularly for women. In this case, female economic contributions and autonomy should diminish in the wake of COVID-19, reducing opportunities for women's political engagement and increasing pressure to support traditional preferences. The simultaneous experience of both crises may either magnify both the impetus and capacity for women's political engagement--if, for instance both COVID-19 and climate shocks are perceived as unjustly diminishing women's current economic returns relative to female expectations pre-crisis, and these shocks simultaneously expand demands for women to contribute more to their households, broadening their agency to collectively reshape future opportunities--or, where COVID- 19 is most severe, rigidly-enforced lockdowns may dominate household calculations and thus magnify the restrictions on women's political engagement.
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We embed experiments within our phone surveys.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Completed by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
3,000 individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
3,000 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1,000 individuals in control; 1,000 individuals in treatment 1; 1,000 individuals in treatment 2.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Boston University Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
2020-09-29
IRB Approval Number
5712X