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Gender in Experimental Elections
Last registered on October 26, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Gender in Experimental Elections
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0006653
Initial registration date
October 22, 2020
Last updated
October 26, 2020 8:19 AM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
LMU Munich and ifo Institute
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Macromedia University
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2020-10-23
End date
2020-11-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We study the role of the candidates' gender as a cue for voting in the United States in a low-informational setting. In this setting, voters can observe candidates' gender from headshots but have no additional information about the candidates. Our conjecture is that
(a) Democrats of either gender are more likely to vote for women than Republicans of the same gender
(b) those supporting Biden of either gender are more likely to vote for a female candidate than those supporting Trump of the same gender
(c) men tend to support male candidates more often than women
(d) women tend to support female candidates more often than men.
Additionally, we study how confident respondents are in their choices in experimental elections, as well as to what extent respondent confidence in their choice depends on the appearance gap between the two candidates. In this respect, our conjectures are:
(e) Republicans are, on average, more certain in their choice than Democrats,
(f) Trump supporters are, on average, more certain in their choice than Biden supporters,
(g) Republicans are, on average, more likely to choose better-looking candidates than Democrats,
(h) Trump supporters are, on average, more likely to choose better-looking candidate than Biden supporters,
…at least when it comes to choices between two candidates of the same gender.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Graefe, Andreas and Panu Poutvaara. 2020. "Gender in Experimental Elections." AEA RCT Registry. October 26. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6653-1.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Each respondent is shown pairs of randomly selected photos. They are then asked which person they would vote for as a member of the House of Representatives if they would have to decide based on photos only, or if they would rather abstain.
Intervention Start Date
2020-10-23
Intervention End Date
2020-10-30
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our primary interest is the share of female candidates selected in experimental elections that include one female and one male candidate, excluding experimental pairs in which the respondent would abstain.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
The level of confidence that respondents have in their choice, as well as how candidates' performance in experimental elections relates to the candidates’ average looks.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Each respondent is shown 99 pairs of randomly selected photos, so that each pair depicts with equal probability (0.25) (a) two males, (b) two females, (c) one female and one male, and (d) one male and one female. They are then asked which person they would vote for as a member of the House of Representatives if they would have to decide based on photos only, or if they would rather abstain. The order in which the different combinations are shown is randomized. To ensure that American respondents do not know the candidates in photos, we use photos of MEPs, collected from the European Parliament’s web site. Subsequently, the respondent is asked a number of background questions, including their party identification and which candidate they would like to see elected as the president. We use Amazon MTurk to recruit the respondents.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Computer program. The survey is programmed using https://www.soscisurvey.de/
Randomization Unit
Randomization takes place at two levels for each respondent. First, we randomize for each pair of photos, whether it depicts two females, two males, one female on the left and one male on the right or one male on the left and one female on the right. Then, we randomly select the photos of the chosen gender to be shown.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
360 respondents
Sample size: planned number of observations
360 respondents are invited to make choices in 99 experimental elections. If everyone replies to all choices, we have 35,640 observations.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
360 respondents are invited to make choices in 99 experimental elections. If everyone replies, this gives us 35,640 observations. The expected number of evaluations that include one female and one male candidate is 17,820, and the expected number of observations of choices between two female or two male candidates is also 17,820.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Ethics Commission, Department of Economics, University of Munich
IRB Approval Date
2020-10-05
IRB Approval Number
2020-09