Attitudes towards LGBT individuals and discrimination

Last registered on January 19, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Attitudes towards LGBT individuals and discrimination
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008820
Initial registration date
January 19, 2022

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
January 19, 2022, 4:21 PM EST

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

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Vanderbilt University
PI Affiliation
University of Exeter

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2022-01-20
End date
2024-01-20
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
In this project, we plan to study whether and to what extent individuals in the United States misreport their attitudes towards transgender individuals and sentiments about employment discrimination. When individuals are faced with sensitive questions in surveys, they tend to misreport. This is mainly caused by social desirability bias: respondents lying to direct questions in surveys when they believe that their opinion runs counter to the perceived social norm. We plan to study our research questions by running a list experiment online in Prolific with a representative sample of the U.S. in terms of age, ethnicity, and sex. List experiments provide a “veil” for subjects and allows researchers to make inferences about the true population estimates. By using a list experiment, we will be able to study whether and to what extent individuals in the United States misreport their attitudes towards transgender individuals in the workplace and employment discrimination. The size of the bias is not ex-ante clear: online surveys may elicit truthful answers since they are self-administered, completed in private, and anonymous. Thus, the treatment effects we find may provide a lower bound of the true population effect since most surveys are not conducted with this much privacy and anonymity and thus people may be less prone to social desirability bias.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Aksoy, Billur, Christopher Carpenter and Dario Sansone. 2022. "Attitudes towards LGBT individuals and discrimination." AEA RCT Registry. January 19. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8820
Sponsors & Partners

Sponsors

Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2022-01-20
Intervention End Date
2024-01-20

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
i) The average differences-in-means between control and treatment groups from all lists for all sensitive statements (using the list experiment data)
ii) The answers to the direct sensitive statements (using the survey data)
iii) The differences between i) and ii)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
i) The average differences-in-means between control and treatment groups from all lists for all sensitive statements (using the list experiment data):
This is the outcome variable that comes from our double list experiment technique. As explained in more detailed in the experimental design section of our AEA registration, for a given sensitive statement, half of the subjects will see “List A” and “List B + Sensitive Item” and the remaining half will see “List A + Sensitive Item” and “List B”. We will take the difference in means based on the answers provided to “List A” and “List A + Sensitive Item”, next take the difference in means based on the answers provided to “List B” and “List B + Sensitive Item”, and then we will calculate the average of these two differences in means. This gives us the estimated share of the population with the key sensitive attribute.

ii) The answers to the direct sensitive statements (using the survey data):
These provide baseline estimates of the share of population with the sensitive attributes.

iii) The differences between i) and ii):
This is the estimated size of the bias due to social desirability and underreporting of stigmatized attitudes.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We use a list experiment technique that was pioneered by Miller (1984). Our participants are either assigned to a treatment or a control group. In the control group, participants are given a list of 4 statement and asked to indicate how many of those statements are true for them. In the treatment group, participants are given the same list of statements plus a sensitive statement (e.g., a statement about attitudes towards transgender individuals). The difference in means between the treatment and control group is the estimated share of the population with the key sensitive attribute. We also directly ask questions regarding the sensitive statements toward the end of the survey. The direct questions provide baseline estimates of the share of population with the sensitive attributes. This allows us to estimate the size of the bias due to social desirability and underreporting of stigmatized attitudes.

Following Glynn (2013), to increase power, we will use a double-list experiment technique. To describe it simply, for each sensitive statement, we will have two lists (e.g., list 1A and list 1B) that are designed to be positively correlated. Half of the participants (randomly selected) will get list 1A (control) and list 1B+sensitive statement (treatment). The other half will get list 1A+sensitive statement (treatment) and list 1B (control). Some participants will get list 1A first, others will get list 1B first (order will be randomized). As suggested in Glynn (2013), the differences-in-means between control and treatment groups from both lists will be averaged and that will be the share of the population with that key sensitive attribute.

In this project, we have two sensitive statements/questions that we are interested in studying:

• "Do you think the law should prohibit employment discrimination against transgender individuals?"
• "Would you be comfortable having a transgender manager at work?"

We will use the double list experiment technique for both statements (Lists 1A and 1B for the first sensitive item and Lists 2A and 2B for the second sensitive item). This means that each participant will see a total of four lists in a randomized order described in more detail in the randomization method section.
Participants never disclose any identifying information, and the survey is completely anonymous.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
We randomize the order of the lists such that half of the participants see the lists for the first sensitive item (Lists 1) and the other half see the lists for the second sensitive item (Lists 2) first. Also within each list group (i.e. Lists 1 and 2), we randomize the order such that half of the participants see lists A first then B and vice versa. More specifically, we created four paths that a participant will follow where SS stands for “sensitive statement”:
Path 1: 1A - 1B+SS - 2A - 2B+SS
Path 2: 1A+SS - 1B - 2A+SS - 2B
Path 3: 2B - 2A+SS - 1B - 1A+SS
Path 4: 2B+SS - 2A - 1B+SS - 1A

Participants are randomized into one of these paths. More specifically, in order to ensure that we have a balanced sample of participants in each of these paths, the path that each participant follows will be determined based on their experiment start time. For example, first participant sees the first path, second participant sees the second path … fifth participant sees the first path and so on.

Also, within each list, the order of the statements are randomly determined at the individual level.
Randomization Unit
Individual level randomization.
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Our goal is to run an initial pilot with 300 participants first to check whether there are any issues with the instructions, code or the software when using a representative sample in Prolific. If there are no issues, this sample will be combined with the actual experiment. Then, we plan to run the experiment with 1,500 participants. 1,500 is the largest number of participants that Prolific can deliver when using a U.S. representative sample.
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,800 (300 + 1,500) participants.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
For Lists A, we will have 900 participants in the treatment group and 900 participants in the control group. For Lists B, we will again have 900 participants in the treatment and control groups each. However, since we are using a double list experiment technique (which incorporates a within-subject component), participants who are in List A (List B) treatment group will naturally be in List B (List A) control group and vice versa.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Rensselaer Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
2021-06-29
IRB Approval Number
IRB ID: 2017
Analysis Plan

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