Persistent Polarizing Effects of Persuasive Communication: Experimental Evidence from Turkey

Last registered on November 30, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Persistent Polarizing Effects of Persuasive Communication: Experimental Evidence from Turkey
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0006827
Initial registration date
November 26, 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, 11:35 AM EST

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

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2017-04-01
End date
2019-04-15
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Exposing voters to non-state-provisioned information is presumed to counter incumbents’ efforts to keep voters uninformed in order to remain in power. In this study, I estimate the effect of randomized door-to-door information campaigns on voter behavior and ideology in Turkey. My design allows me to estimate heterogeneous effects of information campaigns. I find that voter response to the same campaigns increased political polarization and the effect persisted at least two years. I conclude that reducing censorship can be polarizing and, because average measures mask both positive and negative treatment effects, the impact of information campaigns on civil society is underestimated.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Baysan, Ceren. 2020. "Persistent Polarizing Effects of Persuasive Communication: Experimental Evidence from Turkey." AEA RCT Registry. November 30. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6827
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
In this study, I analyze the impact of two randomized door-to-door information campaigns that took place before a constitutional referendum in Izmir, Turkey. The information campaigns were organized and created by members of the largest party opposing the referendum and carried out by party volunteers. These information campaigns were going to be carried out regardless of any evaluation, but I designed their implementation as a randomized control trial.
Intervention Start Date
2017-04-06
Intervention End Date
2017-04-16

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Publcily available administrative data on voter behavior: neighborhood-level vote share and voter turnout from the April 2017 referendum, 2018 general election, 2018 presidential election, and 2019 local election.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Stratified randomization design. Randomization was stratified by quartiles of past average vote share for the main opposition party (this is equivalent to the vote share differential between the incumbent and the main opposition party). This average vote share was calculated using two general elections that were held in 2015. I submitted a pre-analysis plan to OSF before the intervention started. In this PAP, I specified estimating heterogeneous treatment effects by quartile and the covariates that would be used in all regressions.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Neighborhood
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
550
Sample size: planned number of observations
550
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
48 to one treatment group, 52 to a second treatment group, and 450 to the control group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of California, Berkeley
IRB Approval Date
2016-11-18
IRB Approval Number
2016-10-9275
IRB Name
University of California, Berkeley
IRB Approval Date
2016-07-14
IRB Approval Number
2016-04-8680

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