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Title Party mobilization in a repressive electoral system: Testing the impact of positive and negative messages
Post date 03/20/2015
C1 Background and Explanation of Rationale "To understand the effectiveness of positive (hopeful) and negative (angry) campaign messages in a repressive political system. Which messages are generally more effective in mobilizing risky political action? Which are more effective with people who face the highest risk of repression? With the poor? I carry out this study in partnership with a Zimbabwean opposition party that is randomly assigning messages to constituency-based WhatsApp groups that it has created for its supporters. We are using text, image, and video messages that provide the same information but have either a positive/hopeful or negative/angry tone. "
C2 What are the hypotheses to be tested? "H1: In a repressive environment, messages that induce anger will be more effective than hopeful messages in generating political action. H2: Anger-inducing messages will be more effective (compared to hopeful messages) with populations who have experienced more past repression. H3: Anger-inducing messages will be more effective (compared to hopeful messages) with populations who have experienced more past repression. H4: Anger-inducing messages will be more effective in conjunction with messages that emphasize personal power and control."
C3 How will these hypotheses be tested? * "H1: Difference in means test of effect of treatment (anger) and control (hope) groups on political action. Alternate specification including constituency-level controls such as income, group size, and past exposure to repression. H2: Regression of treatment assignment interacted with past exposure to repression on political action. H3: Regression of treatment assignment interacted with poverty on political action. H4: Regression of treatment assignment interacted with a second treatment message about personal power/control on political action. Political action will be measured in two main ways: first, using the text of comments that members post about the messages in the WhatsApp group chats. Second, using records of donations made by group members to the party. Besides the group size, which will be measured by the number of members in the WhatsApp group, group characteristics will be measured using existing observational data linked to the groups by the constituency that they represent. "
C4 Country
C5 Scale (# of Units) not provided by authors
C6 Was a power analysis conducted prior to data collection? Yes
C7 Has this research received Insitutional Review Board (IRB) or ethics committee approval? An IRB determination that this is "not human subjects research" is pending. The experiment is being done by a political party; the researcher's role is to analyze the data.
C8 IRB Number not provided by authors
C9 Date of IRB Approval not provided by authors
C10 Will the intervention be implemented by the researcher or a third party? Transform Zimbabwe
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