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Title Empathy and preferences for welfare assistance
Post date 01/29/2019
C1 Background and Explanation of Rationale

Our experimental study evaluates the effect of an intervention that uses an essay writing task to facilitate perspective taking with people living in poverty. Following a rich literature that has successfully deployed such interventions to improve attitudes towards marginalized groups (Bruneau and Saxe, 2012; Galinsky and Moskowitz, 2000; Simonovits et al., 2018; Vescio et al., 2003) here we seek to encourage perspective taking with people in poverty in order to shift preferences about redistributive policies.

Our theory suggests that one reason for the relatively low support for redistributive policies in the US is that large parts of society rarely consider the experiences of poor people. Accordingly, our intervention facilitates taking the perspective of an individual under financial hardship. It is reasonable to assume that the less likely a participant was to take the perspective of poor people before the experiment, the larger the effects of the intervention will be. Accordingly, our intervention may prove to be most effective among people (1) who are more affluent (2) do not consider themselves as poor and (3) have limited contact with poor people. In the limiting case, we clearly do not expect the treatment to have an impact on people who are experiencing economic hardship themselves.\footnote{This is analogous to perspective taking studies targeting prejudice against an ethnic minority only studying members of the ethnic majority.} Given that affluent people traditionally show low support for redistribution finding a larger treatment effect among them is of particular substantive relevance.

C2 What are the hypotheses to be tested?

H1. Perspective taking with people in poverty increases support for redistributive policies.

H2. The marginal effect of perspective taking with people in poverty on redistributive policies is larger among more affluent participants than among less affluent participants.

C3 How will these hypotheses be tested? *

H1 will be tested by adjusted and unadjusted comparison of an index of redistributive preferences across experimental groups.

H2 will be tested via regressions that estimate differences across experimental groups of the DV for different levels of income.

See the PAP for more details.

C4 Country United States
C5 Scale (# of Units) 3500 individuals
C6 Was a power analysis conducted prior to data collection? not provided by authors
C7 Has this research received Insitutional Review Board (IRB) or ethics committee approval? not provided by authors
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? Researchers
C11 Did any of the research team receive remuneration from the implementing agency for taking part in this research? not provided by authors
C12 If relevant, is there an advance agreement with the implementation group that all results can be published? not provided by authors
C13 JEL Classification(s) not provided by authors