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Sources of Individual Self-Identification: An Experimental Approach

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*Part of TESS 2005 Telephone Survey

Download Telephone Survey Data (includes materials for all surveys in module)


Principal Investigator(s):

Alexander Kuo
Cornell University
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Yotam Margalit
Columbia University
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Sample size: 1117
Field period: 10/20/2005 - 02/12/2006


A growing field of scholarship in comparative politics examines the role of identity in determining political outcomes. An assumption in the literature is that how individuals identify
themselves reveals the political issues and social cleavages along which they are likely to mobilize. We propose an experiment that shows self-reported identity is more malleable than previously thought, undermining the notion that a systematic link exists between individual self-identification and politically salient cleavages.


We expect that exposure to a manipulation will influence a participant to respond differently to the final two self-identification questions, as opposed to the control-group respondent who will be unexposed to the vignette.

Experimental Manipulations:

We propose three different experimental treatments. The vignette
categories will prompt individual identification by nationality, race/ethnicity, or occupation. To reduce the probability of contamination of our specified treatment, the vignette and its attendant questions should be the only treatment that would affect respondent self-identification.

Key Dependent Variables:

Measures of self-identification.


For more information, see the proposal document in the "data and study materials" folder.


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