Authoritarian Messaging and Health Behavior

Last registered on May 24, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

Authoritarian Messaging and Health Behavior
Initial registration date
May 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
May 24, 2021, 8:55 AM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

George Washington University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
This study consists of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that replicates and deepens an earlier study. It investigates how authoritarian leaders’ messaging impacts willingness to engage in prohealth behavior in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Hale, Henry. 2021. "Authoritarian Messaging and Health Behavior." AEA RCT Registry. May 24.
Experimental Details


This is a five-arm experiment, with four treatment groups and a control. Prior to being asked the outcome questions, one treatment group is read a statement from a doctor recommending certain prohealth behaviors regarding COVID-19, a second group is read a statement asking them to reflect on Putin’s messaging on the same topic but without specifying what these are, a third is provided with specific messaging from Vladimir Putin (including a quotation) on this topic, and the fourth group is read both Putin’s (specific) and the doctor’s messages together.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The main outcome variables are 11-point scales measuring the likelihood the respondent will engage in three prohealth behaviors widely believed capable of curbing the spread of the virus.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The primary outcomes of interest include the difference in average responses on the three outcome questions between: the Putin generic treatment group and the control group; the Putin specific treatment group and the control group; the doctor treatment group and the treatment group getting both Putin’s and the doctor’s statements. Also of central interest is whether the Putin treatments’ effects vary by covid risk factors (subjective and objective) and by levels of support for Putin.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The RCT is embedded in the regular “omnibus” survey of Russia’s highly reputable Levada-Center agency. Respondents are selected through a multistage area probability method designed to produce a nationally representative sample of the Russian population. It will include about 1600 residents of Russia age 18 or older. Interviews will be conducted by phone using the CATI method.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization in the assignment of respondents to control and treatment groups is achieved through the randomization function in Levada-Center’s survey software.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
1600 adult residents of Russia
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
There will be approximately 320 in the control group and 320 in each of the four treatment groups.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
George Washington University Committee on Human Research, Institutional Review Board
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