Are Africans African? An Experimental Analysis of Identity in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal

Last registered on November 15, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

Are Africans African? An Experimental Analysis of Identity in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal
Initial registration date
November 12, 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
November 15, 2021, 11:56 AM EST

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



Primary Investigator

Bucknell University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Existing research in Africa has identified ethnicity, religion, and other identities as important factors in a variety of political outcomes. From civil wars to economic development to voting decisions, the effects of ethnic identities are critical across all of these and still other political processes. Typically research studying identities in Africa has focused on explaining the degree to which people identify with their ethnic group versus larger national identities. Yet, despite all of this research none has looked at the degree to which people identify as being African. This is surprising given that the quest to build a larger 'United States of Africa' following de-colonization by leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, and others sought to create or tap into an African identity. Today, many leaders believe that Africa must unite and overcome the "balkanization" left behind from colonization. Yet, can Africans unite? Do they think of themselves as African? This study seeks to understand the degree to which (i) Africans do identity with being African versus their own nationality and (ii) if being African is influenced by leaders like Nyerere. To do so, this analysis will conduct a series of survey experiments in Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal in which randomly selected respondents will be randomly assigned a statement by a religious or political leader that is encouraging of African unity. A control group will be presented with no statement. Expectation is that leaders will encourage more African and less national identities.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Doces, John. 2021. "Are Africans African? An Experimental Analysis of Identity in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal ." AEA RCT Registry. November 15.
Experimental Details


The interventions will include statements by religious, political, and other leaders about the importance of unity. Statements will be from religious leaders (Jesus, Muhammad), political leaders (Julius Nyerere), and musicians (Bob Marley). Respondents will be randomly assigned either a control in which no statement appears or a statement from one of these leaders to see how this affects the views of respondents regarding their identity as Africans. The treatments by leader are as follows:

-Bob Marley said, "How good and pleasing it would be before God and man, yeah to see the unification of all Africans, yeah." Do you know these words?
-Jesus / Issa said, “I give you a new commandment: Love one another. As I have loved you, you must also love one another. Do you know these words?
-Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “None of you truly believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself. Do you know these words?
-Julius Nyerere, Tanzania's first president, said: “Work for unity with the firm belief that without unity there is no future for Africa. Do you know these words?
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
-Degree to which respondents see themselves as Ivorian/Senegalese versus African
-Degree to which their wellbeing depends on the wellbeing of other Africans
-Degree to which they would be offended by negative statements about other Africans
-Degree to which they see Africans as culturally different or similar
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Experiment will be a random sample using a random walk in different areas of Abidjan and Dakar. Enumerators will be given five different times that will determine how much time in seconds (or steps) each enumerator should walk between each interview. The times assigned will vary between 1 second and 25 seconds and will be given in tranches. The first tranche will be a time between 1 and 5 second, the second 6 and 10 second, third 11 and 15, fourth 16 and 20, and fifth 21 and 25 second/steps. After moving through each tranche the enumerator will then start back at the first time and work through them repeating the process until they have finished their surveys. Each randomly selected respondent will be randomly assigned control versus one of the treatments based on a pre-determined random assignment using a lottery.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization will be done using Excel in which control and treatments will be randomly shuffled using Excel. Each enumerator will have 40 randomly ordered surveys that they will then assign by randomly selecting respondents.
Randomization Unit
Randomization will be done at individual level.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Respondents will be selected in different parts of Abidjan and Dakar. Total areas or clusters will be approximately eight.
Sample size: planned number of observations
Total observations is 800.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
A total of 160 observations per treatment arm.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Bucknell University Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

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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