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Title Attentive Public Attitudes towards International Cooperation: A survey-experiment assessing the impact of perceived lessons of history and policy leadership
Post date 09/19/2018
C1 Background and Explanation of Rationale

This is a study focused on public opinion and international cooperation, with an emphasis on the roles of national identity and nationalism. It asks what is the relationship between nationalism and international cooperation (in major democracies)?

One focus is on the national “frame” as set out by a country’s policy choices. Does policy leadership such as joining (or not joining) international cooperation affect public attitudes? Is this leadership effect conditioned by partisanship? A second focus is national “experience” as encapsulated in shared perceptions historical experience. Do important lessons of history affect public attitudes? A third focus is on the role of “exclusionary” nationalism in particular. Does consideration of Exclusionary Nationalism add to understanding of perceived lessons of history and attitudes towards cooperation? Are exclusionary nationalists less supportive of international cooperation, less affected by the treatments, and do they perceive different lessons of history?

C2 What are the hypotheses to be tested?

H1a: Learning that his / her country participates (does not participate) in a particular international arrangement will increase (decrease) a citizen’s support for that arrangement.

H1b: Learning that his / her country participates (does not participate) in a particular international arrangement will increase (decrease) a citizen’s support for cooperation on other issues.

Partisanship: the effects of H1a&b will be conditional on the political identity of the respondent – respondents will follow national choices when the country’s leadership is held by a co-partisan, but they will exhibit a backlash against the national choice when the country’s leadership is not held by a co-partisan.

Exclusionary nationalism: the effects of H1a&b will be weaker for exclusionary nationalists, who are more firmly negatively disposed to cooperation than other citizens.

H2a: Recalling important lessons of history will increase a citizen’s support for international cooperation.

H2b: Recalling important lessons of history will increase the salience of international cooperation for citizens.

Partisanship: the effects of H2a&b will be conditional on the political identity of the respondent – respondents on the left will increase support for and salience of international cooperation issues under the lessons of history treatment, respondents on the right will not increase support or salience on international cooperation issues.

Exclusionary nationalism: there will be a qualitative difference in the types and frequencies of lessons referred to by exclusionary nationalists versus other respondents, with a greater emphasis on founding myths of the state and foreign threats.

Issue-nationalism hypothesis.

H3: Respondents will show no significant change or the least change in issue salience for the “country” rankings compared to the “self” and “world” rankings.

C3 How will these hypotheses be tested? *

H1a&b will be tested using the “policy leadership” treatment in the online survey. For each country, there will be three randomized treatment groups: control, cooperative message only, policy choice message only, cooperative message + policy choice message. The cooperative message treatment is a text to be read by respondents arguing that climate change should be addressed through international cooperation. The policy leadership treatment is a text explaining that their country is (Germany, India, Japan), or is not (USA) “a full participant” in the Paris climate accords.

H2a&b will be tested using one randomized treatment group. These respondents receive the “lessons of history” but do not receive any of the policy leadership treatments. They are asked three questions. The first asks “In your opinion, what are the three most important historical events that should provide lessons for ${e://Field/country} today? You may list any event of recent or past history.” There are three open-ended response lines. The second asks “Recalling the three important lessons of history you just listed, which is the single most important historical event that you think should provide a lesson for ${e://Field/country} today, the first, second, or third that you listed?” They are given tick options of 1, 2, or 3. The third question asks “In one or two sentences, please say what in your opinion the major lesson of the historical event you selected in the previous question is for ${e://Field/country}?” Respondents answer in a text-box.

Only the fact of being asked about lessons or not can be considered a randomized treatment. Respondents self-select into the specific lessons they nominate, so we will not make claims about treatment effects based on the specific lessons.

There is also a control group of respondents who receive neither treatment and jump right to the outcome variable questions. The control group and each of the three “policy leadership” treatment groups will have 286 respondents per country. The “lessons of history” treatment group will have 856 respondents per country.

The post-treatment outcome variables used to measure the treatment effects are 1) a ranking exercise of nine domestic and foreign policy issues and their importance “for you, the country, and the world;” 2) a Likert scale of agreement with two statements about dealing with immigration and climate change “on our own, rather than coordinating with other countries;” and 3) a Likert support-oppose question about the Paris Climate accord.

C4 Country Germany, India, Japan, United States
C5 Scale (# of Units) 8000 (2000 respondents per country)
C6 Was a power analysis conducted prior to data collection? Yes
C7 Has this research received Insitutional Review Board (IRB) or ethics committee approval? Yes
C8 IRB Number Protocol: 2018/532, Research Integrity & Compliance, The Australian National University
C9 Date of IRB Approval 3 September 2018
C10 Will the intervention be implemented by the researcher or a third party? Qualtrics Sample Services
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) D72, D74, F51, F52, F53