How COVID-19 Information affects Behavior and Policy Preferences

Last registered on May 09, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

How COVID-19 Information affects Behavior and Policy Preferences
Initial registration date
May 06, 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
May 09, 2022, 8:23 PM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

Johns Hopkins

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
The purpose of the research is twofold. First, our goal is to better understand how information affects attitudes and behavior. Our study will contribute to this literature in the context of COVID-19, with an emphasis on behavior that has clear economic implications (e.g., eating at restaurants, traveling, etc.). Second, our work will shed light on the role of beliefs in explaining hesitancy to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Lack of vaccine uptake remains a serious problem around the world, and our experiment will help test which messages might be effective or counter-productive in encouraging people to take the vaccine.

We will randomize survey respondents into 12 different information arms (plus one control arm in which no information is provided). Each information arm includes some factual information on COVID-19 vaccines and COVID-19 transmission. We will then follow up with several behavioral and attitudinal questions, including plans for in-person dining and in-person gathering. We will test how the effect of information on behavioral and attitudinal beliefs varies by a.) prior beliefs and b.) political affiliation. Prior beliefs will be measured both with numerical assessments of the COVID-19 hospitalization rate as well as categorical assessments on the relative severity of the Omicron variant.

We will also ask respondents to voluntarily reveal whether they use Twitter and, if so, whether they will share their Twitter handle (ID). For the selected sub-sample who agree to provide their Twitter identity, we will merge Twitter handles with internal Twitter information that is made freely available to scholars. These data have been used by other researchers to study, for example, the spread of misinformation. The idea is to interact characteristics of behavior on Twitter, including usage, likes, retweets, and followers, with treatment in our experiment.

There is also a longitudinal component to our study. After two-months, we will re-survey our original sample to test if the effects of information last only within the experiment itself or for as long as two-months after the experiment, when participants are re-interviewed.

External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Darden, Michael and Jonathan Rothwell. 2022. "How COVID-19 Information affects Behavior and Policy Preferences." AEA RCT Registry. May 09.
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. Do you approve of the following policies in the United States right now?

1 Yes, I approve of this policy
0 No, I do not approve of this policy
9 Refuse to Answer

A. Requiring all federal government workers, contractors and employees who work for companies that receive revenue from the federal government to be vaccinated against COVID-19
B. Making it illegal to fire an employee who refuses to take the COVID-19 vaccine
C. Requiring facemasks be worn on airplanes
D. Requiring facemasks be worn in schools
E. Capacity limits for large in person events such as sporting events, concerts or theater.
F. Requiring a negative COVID-19 test for passengers entering the United States from international destinations.

2. Do you approve each of the following policies in the city or area where you live right now?

1 Yes, I approve of this policy
0 No, I do not approve of this policy
9 Refuse to Answer

A. Closing restaurants and bars to indoor dining
B. Banning concerts and other large social gatherings
C. Requiring students over the age of 5 to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to return to the classroom
D. Requiring students to learn remotely from home if COVID-19 cases start increasing in my school district

3. In the next 30 days, how likely are you to do each of the following?

1 Highly likely
2 Somewhat likely
3 Somewhat unlikely
4 Highly unlikely
9 Refuse to Answer

A. Eat indoors at a restaurant or bar
B. Book a flight for personal travel
C. Book a flight for business travel
D. Book a hotel room or vacation rental
E. Attend a large social gathering such as the theater, a concert or religious congregation
F Get together with friends or arrange for your children to get together with friends at your home or friend’s home

4. If unvaccinated, how likely are you to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the next 30 days?
4 I will definitely do it
3 I probably will do it
2 I probably will not do it
1 I will definitely not do it
9 Refuse to Answer

5. How likely are you to receive an additional COVID-19 shot in the next 30 days?
4 I will definitely do it
3 I probably will do it
2 I probably will not do it
1 I will definitely not do it
9 Refuse to Answer

Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
See analysis plan.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done by computer.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
10,000 Individuals.
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
769 individuals per arm.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Gallup Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents


MD5: bfae2e60382e5f673b732a56ba0cec2b

SHA1: 5ce1cf31d4098f33d57916a679f87e2d5172e3f5

Uploaded At: May 06, 2022