Do Transitional Justice Museums Persuade Visitors? Evidence From a Field Experiment

Forthcoming, The Journal of Politics

28 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2020

See all articles by Laia Balcells

Laia Balcells

Georgetown University

Valeria Palanza

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Elsa Voytas

Princeton University

Date Written: September 1, 2020

Abstract

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

Balcells, Laia and Palanza, Valeria and Voytas, Elsa, Do Transitional Justice Museums Persuade Visitors? Evidence From a Field Experiment (September 1, 2020). Forthcoming, The Journal of Politics, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3687658

Laia Balcells (Contact Author)

Georgetown University ( email )

United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.laiabalcells.com

Valeria Palanza

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile ( email )

Avda. Vicuña Mackenna 4860
Santiago, Región Metropolitana 780436
Chile

Elsa Voytas

Princeton University ( email )

United States

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