Attitudes towards democracy and political rights among Chinese and their diaspora

Last registered on May 24, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

Attitudes towards democracy and political rights among Chinese and their diaspora
Initial registration date
November 27, 2020

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
November 30, 2020, 11:34 AM EST

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

Last updated
May 24, 2021, 1:12 PM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator

Dartmouth College

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Brown University
PI Affiliation
National Taiwan University

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
We aim to conduct a set of surveys and a novel decision-making procedure in order to derive insights into views of unrestricted central authority versus political democracy and political freedom held by people of China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan and their diaspora in Canada and the U.S. We are investigating the nature of differences of views on these subjects as they vary by age cohort, education, socioeconomic status, and past political “class background” as that term was understood in China under Mao Zedong, and by region of China or Hong Kong or Taiwan, plus differences in the degree of exposure to life in Canada and the U.S. The project will help social scientists to obtain a better understanding of some factors that may govern whether China will transition from one-party rule to political democracy in the next few decades, a goal frequently expressed by U.S. leaders when adopting an approach of “constructive engagement” in response to China’s post-1978 “reform and opening.” Moreover, it will provide a novel experimental tool that can be used by future researchers to examine preference for democracy in an indirect, incentivized way, which can be a valuable tool in contexts where these issues are politically sensitive.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

I Chen, Josie, Louis Putterman and Diego Ramos-Toro. 2021. "Attitudes towards democracy and political rights among Chinese and their diaspora." AEA RCT Registry. May 24.
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Survey and experimental measures of support for democracy; Political Opinions about China
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Survey measures of trust, cooperation, and conditional cooperation; secondary political opinions about China
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Participants will provide detailed demographic information at the beginning of the survey, and we will have a system that will allow us to select a balanced sample (along dimensions such as age, gender, and socioeconomic status) among those who are interested. We will then collect survey and experimental measures from those deemed eligible to participate. We will initially recruit 1100 participants but will increase the sample size if adequate funding is obtained.
Experimental Design Details
At the beginning of the session, participants will be randomly assigned to different representative experiences of rural Chinese Nationals with the policies imposed by the Chinese Communist Party in the past 3-4 decades. Particularly, they will be assigned to one of the following treatment branches: Positive Representative Story, Negative Representative Story, Placebo Story (about Chinese Cuisine), and No Story. After this intervention, participants will proceed to provide survey and experimental responses.

The experimental measure will be a novel decision-making procedure whereby participants will be assigned to a randomly-formed group of 5, and they will then report their preference (strong, moderate, or indifferent) for one of two alternatives of decision-making procedures to solve a moderately-challenging question: One alternative in which researchers select a group member and enforces their answer to the question (authority-based decision) vs. another decision-making procedure that instead favors the most frequent answer to such a question (majority-based decision). There will be a randomization embedded in the experiment, whereby half of the participants will be shown a message that suggests that, when selecting the authority in the decision-based task, higher self-reported math ability can be an important criterion used.
Randomization Method
Respondents will be randomly assigned to control and treatment groups by the Qualtrics software.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
184 per 'representative-experience' treatment branch (i.e., per group of participants exposed to the same 'representative' intervention and to the same randomization embedded in the experiment); 184 per 'placebo/pure control' treatment branch (i.e., per group of participants exposed to no or placebo intervention and to the same randomization embedded in the experiment).
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Committee on Human Subjects Research Activities - Brown University
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials