Getting the Message? Choice, Self-Selection, and the Efficacy of Social Movement Arguments


The dynamics of choice and self-selection are central features of politics but absent from most experimental designs. We show how designs that incorporate choice, by allowing some subjects the option to receive or avoid treatment, can be extended by randomizing conditional on subjects' treatment choices to answer further questions of interest while preserving statistical power. We apply this design to study how the gender of messengers for the #MeToo social movement conditions who receives the movement’s message and how they respond. Our results, from both convenience and nationally representative samples, suggest that #MeToo movement’s message reaches a wide audience with the intended effect. The potential for backlash in response to the message appears limited but more likely when this message is delivered by a woman.

Journal of Experimental Political Science