Decreasing polarization and instilling civic values at scale

Support for democracy is dangerously low and decreasing in Latin America and many countries. At the same time polarization is high and on the rise. In this project we test whether a civic education program---developed by Democracy International and delivered online---as well as direct out-group contact/deliberation by students (in the spirit of Deliberative Polling), can decrease affective and behavioral polarization, and increase civic participation measured as donating time and money to pro-democratic causes, willingness to sign petitions to congressmen, participate in protests, as well as voting and willingness to be a poll booth worker in the 2024 Mexican presidential election. Despite the high stakes involved, and it being a common answer to how to stave off the erosion of democracy, we know little about the causal effect of civic education programs, and even less about the pedagogy they should use: e.g. the importance of contact and deliberation between students of different backgrounds. We also know little about whether online delivery works, which has massive implications for the potential outreach of these methods. We aim to fill some of these gaps in this hugely important topic.

RFP Cycle:
Fall 2021
  • Pilot project