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Title Understanding Support for Sectarian Politics: Evidence from Survey Experiments in Lebanon
Post date 07/12/2016
C1 Background and Explanation of Rationale

Ethnic or sectarian politics dominate in many developing countries. Despite the prevalence of ethnic (sectarian) politics, a large political economy literature has argued that more ethnically diverse societies have lower levels of public goods provision, higher levels of clientelism, and weaker accountability. The adverse aspects of ethnic politics raise two questions central to a growing body of literature focused on understanding how to increase support for programmatic politics in countries dominated by ethnic or clientelist politics. To what extent do citizens support the ethnic status quo (meaning the institutionalization of politics along ethnic lines) and to what extent would they prefer an alternative basis of political organization, particularly one which gave primacy to programmatic, issue-based politics? Second, is it possible to reduce support for ethnic politics and increase support for an alternative?

C2 What are the hypotheses to be tested?

We use a set of survey experiments to explore two questions: (1) To what extent do citizens in Lebanon support sectarianism in politics, and (2) Is it possible to reduce support for sectarian politics and increase support for programmatic politics? To address the first question we use allocation experiments and public/private variations for a petition and Facebook group membership to measure preference falsification with respect to sectarianism. To study the second question, we use information treatments on economic inequality and the cross-cutting nature of the economic cleavage in Lebanon to see if increasing awareness of economic class interests reduces support for sectarian politics.

C3 How will these hypotheses be tested? *

The pre-analysis plan states 26 hypotheses that will be tested. The first set of hypotheses are about whether private preferences will diverge from public preferences when those preferences are made known to political elites and peers. We also hypothesize that the degree of preference falsification will vary depending on the nature of private preferences and the degree to which individuals are vulnerable to social or elite sanctioning for making their true preferences public. The second set of hypotheses focuses on the effects of providing information on economic inequality and the cross-cutting nature of an economic cleavage. We will also look at mechanisms and heterogeneous effects based on identity attachment, sectarian and economic status, and key demographic characteristics (among some others).

C4 Country Lebanon
C5 Scale (# of Units) 2496
C6 Was a power analysis conducted prior to data collection? No
C7 Has this research received Insitutional Review Board (IRB) or ethics committee approval? Yes
C8 IRB Number PRO15060167
C9 Date of IRB Approval July 1, 2015
C10 Will the intervention be implemented by the researcher or a third party? Information International
C11 Did any of the research team receive remuneration from the implementing agency for taking part in this research? No
C12 If relevant, is there an advance agreement with the implementation group that all results can be published? Yes
C13 JEL Classification(s) not provided by authors