Replication Data for: What are the impacts of counter-SOC awareness raising strategies?



Counter serious and organised crime (SOC) strategies often include an awareness-raising element. Such messaging aims to build support for counter-SOC efforts, and intolerance for organised criminal activity. However, a growing body of research suggests that raising awareness to ‘social bads’ like SOC may risk backfiring by encouraging pessimistic attitudes about whether they can be controlled and could even nudge people to agree with populist narratives which argue that political outsiders represent the only hope for tackling systemic problems. A nationally representative survey experiment in Albania was conducted to test, for the first time, the impact of messages about SOC. Typical of counter-SOC messaging in practice, the first message emphasised the harms SOC causes. The second was more positive, highlighting high levels of social disapproval of SOC, a theme that social norms research suggests may be effective. We find that the first message backfires by reducing confidence in law enforcement and encouraging support for populist ideas. The second message is unexpectedly found to also encourage support for a populist sentiment, while having no positive impact on attitudes about law enforcement. This suggests that even positive messaging about ‘social bads’ can risk triggering unwanted responses.
Date made available2024
PublisherHarvard Dataverse

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