Slavery and Trust: An Experimental Analysis in Côte d’Ivoire

Last registered on May 03, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

Slavery and Trust: An Experimental Analysis in Côte d’Ivoire
Initial registration date
May 01, 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 03, 2022, 9:43 AM EDT

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

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
The Atlantic slave trade has long been claimed to be a primary reason as to why Africa remains relatively poor today. A variety of effects have been analyzed, but perhaps most important is slavery's effect on current levels of trust. In Africa, levels of trust remain relatively low in those places where slaves were captured compared to where they were not captured: research by Nunn and Wantchekon (2011) in Ghana using Afrobarometer data indicates that those places where slaves were captured have lower levels of trust than those places from where slaves were not captured and sold. However, these results are observational and those enslaving selected certain groups especially those that were different and easy to divide or those with relatively low levels of trust to begin with. Moreover, the use of the Afrobarometer data is problematic as it is not collected for the purpose of testing hypotheses about slavery. Despite these shortcomings, understanding the effects of slavery on trust remains a critical area of research for scholars in political economy. This project tests the connection between slavery and trust using an experimental analysis of two Akan groups in Côte d’Ivoire, the Aboure and Agni. While both groups are Akan, historically they remain adversaries in part due to slavery and thus they represent an important means to test the effect of slavery on trust. To do so, I will implement a survey asking the same questions of trust used by Nunn and Wantchekon, but here randomly assigning respondents a statement and picture about the legacy and history of slavery. I propose two general hypotheses: following Nunn and Wantchekon, I argue that those treated will exhibit lower levels of trust; alternatively, I discuss the view that people today did not directly experience slavery and thus there is no reason that those treated will exhibit different levels of trust than those not treated with a statement about slavery. Beyond feelings of trust, behavioral effects will be tested by asking respondents if they would like to give the enumerator their participation fee as a donation. If they trust the enumerator to make the donation then they will make the donation. The treatment of slavery should make them less likely to donate. We will sample in two areas known as strongholds of each group including Bonoua for the Aboure and Aboisso for the Agni.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Doces, John. 2022. "Slavery and Trust: An Experimental Analysis in Côte d’Ivoire ." AEA RCT Registry. May 03.
Experimental Details


The intervention will be a statement about slavery and a picture of slaves being captured. The statement is as follows;

As you probably know, many Africans were sold into slavery and sent to the Americas. Africans not only were sold into slavery, but they often captured and sold other Africans into slavery as this picture shows. Did you know that many slaves were captured and sold by other Africans?
No I did not know that Africans did this to other Africans
Yes I did know that Africans did this to other Africans
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
There will be several questions about trust including related to: Your relatives? Your neighbors? Your elected government council? Your Chief? People of your ethnic group the Aboure/Agni? People of other Akan groups like the Aboure/Agni? People of other ethnic groups like the Dioula?

There will also be a question about the importance of learning a local language: Do you think it is important for children to learn to speak Aboure/Agni?

Finally, we will test if the treatment affects behavior by asking if the respondent would like to give their participation fee to the enumerator to donate to a local woman:
Would you like to give me your participation fee (500 CFA) and I will donate it to a poor mother struggling to raise four children?
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Experiment is a survey experiment that will be done in the field. Respondents will be randomly assigned either to a survey with a treatment about slavery or assigned to a control in which there is nothing noted about slavery.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Surveys will be randomly assigned using a pre-determined randomization with Excel.
Randomization Unit
Individual will be unit of randomization.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
There will be two clusters.
Sample size: planned number of observations
Total number of observations is 600.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
There will be 300 observations per cluster.
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

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