Do Transitional Justice Museums Persuade Visitors? Evidence From a Field Experiment
Forthcoming, The Journal of Politics
28 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2020
Date Written: September 1, 2020
Do transitional justice museums persuade visitors? We implement a novel field experiment at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Santiago, Chile to understand the effects of governments' attempts to shape citizens' attitudes through symbolic transitional justice policies such as museums and memorials. Our findings suggest that though perceptions of the museum vary along ideological lines, Chilean university students display greater support for democratic institutions, are more likely to reject institutions associated with the repressive period and are more supportive of restorative transitional justice policies after visiting regardless of their ideological priors. We test for the persistence of these results and find that some of the effects endure for six months following the museum visit. We find support for the notion that emotional appeals deployed in the museum can shift citizen attitudes, which might have implications for processes of reconciliation.
Keywords: field experiment, museums, transitional justice, emotions, violence, repression, human rights
JEL Classification: C93
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation