Which interests? An experimental study of gender differences in political interest

Last registered on June 02, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

Which interests? An experimental study of gender differences in political interest
Initial registration date
March 22, 2021

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
March 22, 2021, 1:13 PM EDT

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

Last updated
June 02, 2021, 10:53 AM EDT

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



Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Universidad da Coruña

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
One of the most regular findings drawn from public opinion survey data is that women are less interested in politics than men are. Recent studies have started to challenge this common view, by showing that there are significant differences in the politicaltopics women and men are interested in. Allegedly, the classic indicator of political interest (‘In general, how interested are you in politics?’) does not capture equally well women and men’s political interests(Ferrín et al 2020; Ferrín & García-Albacete 2019). Consequently, part of the gender gap repeatedly identified over time and across countries might be –at least partially –an artifact of the measurement instruments used in surveys. Based on previous findings from cognitive interviews, in this study we conduct an experiment whereby we offer different sets of stimuli to the respondents that connect to different notions of the political. Specifically, we offer interviewees the possibility to first read a piece of political news of their choice. We compare treatment to control group within the same sex and between men and women.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Ferrín , Mónica and Gema García-Albacete. 2021. "Which interests? An experimental study of gender differences in political interest." AEA RCT Registry. June 02. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.7318-2.0
Experimental Details


We will run a survey experiment whereby we offer different sets of stimuly to the respondents that connect to their different notions of the political before posing standard questions on political interest
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Declared levels of political interest of treated vs control groups within the same sex and between mena and women in the treatment versus the control group
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
A) We expect individuals who are exposed to political news to show higher levels of political interest than individuals in the control group.

a. Mechanism: while political interest in the abstract sparks in respondents topics related to classical party-based politics, having the opportunity to select one headline brings notions of politics more closely related to the individuals’ personal interests.

B) Differentiated effects of the treatment for men and women:

a. Women and men tend to choose different news. Men select news related to political parties, parliament and economics to a higher extent than women do. Women chose news related to equality and policies such as health or education to a higher extent than men do.

b. We expect differences among treated group and control group to be higher among women than among men. Mechanism: As politics in the abstract makes respondents’ think about party politics and elections, a topic of higher interest for men than for women, we expect that the opportunity to select a headline and read a political issue closer to an individual’s interests will results in higher changes in the declared levels of political interest of women.

C) Gender gap: For these reasons, we expect that the gender gap (in favor of men) in levels of political interest will be lower for the treated group than for the control group.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Survey experiment. Treatment versus control group.
Experimental Design Details
Survey experiment. We will use a survey experiment in which we divide the sample in two groups: a control group C (50% of the sample) and a treated group T (50% of the sample) that is asked to an article of their choice but first presenting them with six different headlines to choose from. We then ask respondents about their general levels of political interest using the standard question in survey research: ‘In general, how interested are you in politics?’, which will represent our main dependent variable.
Randomization Method
Computer. Run by survey company
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
No clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Treatment A: 1000
Treatment B: 1000
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


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