Joint Comparative Politics and PDRI DevLab Seminar: Yotam Margalit

May 2024

The Penn Development Research Initiative – DevLab@Penn is hosting a Joint Comparative Politics and PDRI DevLab Seminar.

Topic: The Politics of Using AI in Policy Implementation: Evidence from a Field Experiment

Presenter:  Yotam Margalit (joint with Shir Raviv)

The use of AI by government agencies in guiding important decisions (such as policing, welfare, education) has generated backlash and led to widespread calls for greater public input in the regulation of AI. But what exactly would such public input reflect? Does personal experience with the technology or learning about its implications shape people’s views on using AI in government? We study these questions experimentally. We track the attitudes of over 1,500 workers, where the boss who allocates them to tasks (human vs. AI), the tasks’ content and valence are randomly assigned. Over a three-wave panel, we find that personal experience with AI-as-boss affected workers’ performance, but not their policy attitudes. In contrast, exposure to information about the technology generated significant attitudinal change, even when it went against their experience or prior views. Our findings highlight the promise and potential challenges of involving public input in shaping AI regulation.

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