Experimental Design Details
The subjects will be presented with the following text:
``City residents sometimes take part in various civic initiatives, such as signing petitions or supporting the election of municipal deputies. In order to make the right choice, people sometimes rely on the opinions of their neighbors. We want to know whose opinion you consider the most valuable. You will be presented with several situations where a neighbor asks you to participate in a number of initiatives. Please let us know whether you will support his/her propositions or not. In each case, we will provide you with information about the neighbor's GENDER, AGE, INCOME, EDUCATION, EMPLOYMENT, and DURATION OF RESIDENCE IN YOUR BUILDING.''
Then the subjects will then be presented with 4 scenarios, each describing a different neighbor with the following characteristics chosen at random:
1. Gender: Male/Female
2. Age: 30, 45 or 60 years
3. Income: 20000, 40000, 60000, 10000 or 150000 Roubles per month
4. Education: Higher education or not
5. Position at work: Manager/subordinate [Manager positions will have incomes of 60000, 100000, or 150000
6. Employed in state/private sector
7. Length or residence: 1 or 4 years
Following each scenario we will ask two sets of questions. We first present four different propositions by the neighbor. We then explore possible reasons why the neighbor's propositions may or may not be supported. We ask about generic trust toward that neighbor, as well as about two specific reasons to trust that neighbor. The last two questions deal with the specific reasons why the neighbor may or may not be trusted: The neighbor's perceived competence, and the congruence of his/her interests with those of the respondent. Thus we are interested how the neighbor is evaluated along valence and position dimensions.
1. ``Which of the neighbor's propositions will you support? Signing a petition against a new highway in your district/ Taking part in a protest action against a new highway in your district/ Leaving a signature in support for someone else's candidacy for your building's homeowner's council/ Leaving a signature in support for someone else's candidacy for a the position of a municipal deputy [Definitely yes/ Rather yes/ Rather no/ Definitely no].''
2. ``Please answer the following questions. Do you trust this neighbor/ Do you think other neighbors will trust the neighbor/ Do you think this neighbor is competent in questions related to your building of residence or district/ Do you think this neighbor's interests are the same as yours? [Definitely yes/ Rather yes/ Rather no/ Definitely no].''
We expect two results. First, in a social environment more
proximate to that of an individual, it is more likely that this individual will engage in civic activism. Second, it is possible that in some social environments passivity will become the social norm, preventing civic engagement. In this case, it is possible that individual’s civic
engagement will be mobilized by individuals with higher social status. This individual could be perceived as more competent and knowledgeable, which will trigger the mobilization effects. This translates into the following hypotheses:
-An individual is more likely to be mobilized by someone from a similar social strata
-An individual is more likely to be mobilized by someone with a high social status
-Someone with a high social status is more likely to be perceived as more competent; someone from a similarsocial strata is more likely to be perceived as having similar interests