Barriers to worker’s lifelong learning from a firm’s perspective

Last registered on October 17, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

Barriers to worker’s lifelong learning from a firm’s perspective
Initial registration date
October 12, 2022

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
October 17, 2022, 5:22 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.


There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information

Primary Investigator

ifo Institute

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Technical University Munich
PI Affiliation
Technical University Munich

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
We study whether the type of human capital (specific vs. general) and the type of employee (unskilled vs. skilled) matter for managers’ decisions to approve lifelong learning opportunities for their employees in their company. For that purpose, we implement a vignette experiment among managers from small and medium-sized enterprises in Germany, who are presented with hypothetical scenarios involving fictitious employees. Respondents will be asked about their likelihood to allow this described employee to attend further training. The main objective is to understand obstacles to employees' additional training and lifelong learning activities within organizations.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Baier, Helena, Philipp Lergetporer and Katharina Wedel. 2022. "Barriers to worker’s lifelong learning from a firm’s perspective ." AEA RCT Registry. October 17.
Experimental Details


Participants are randomly assigned to one of four vignettes that describe a hypothetical situation involving a ficticious employee at the respondent’s company. Within these vignettes, we randomize the type of the employee (unskilled vs. skilled) and the type of human capital (general vs. specific) that the employee wants to acquire through the proposed further training.
Respondents will be asked about (i) the likelihood to allow the employee to attend the further training, and (ii) reasons for and consequences of the employee’s participation in the further training.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our primary outcome is respondent’s likelihood to allow the described employee to participate in the proposed further training.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The outcome question on the likelihood to allow the participation in the further training is the following:
“How likely are you to make this continuing education possible?”
Answers can be given on a scale from 0 to 100%.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
We elicit reasons of and perceived consequences for respondents’ decision to allow further training. These questions allow us to study channels through which the treatment variation affects decisions to allow further training. In particular, we elicit agreement to statements regarding the expected consequences of the proposed further training, such as increased job satisfaction and productivity of the employee, both at the respondent’s own company as well as at another company, and increased likelihood of the employee to move to another company. Besides, we ask about agreement with the statement that the proposed further training is good for the respondent’s company overall. We also ask to what extent the respondent agrees with the statement that there are no financial or human resources to make the further training possible.

We also would like to study treatment-effect heterogeneities by companies (i) industry, (ii) employment structure, (iii) size and (iv) past further-training activities.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
The outcome questions on the further outcomes include agreement to the following items:
(1 = agree totally, 5 = absolutely not agree)
- “This training promotes his job satisfaction.
- This training increases his productivity in my company.
- This training would increase his productivity in another company.
- This training is overall good for my company.
- This training increases the likelihood that he will move to another company.
- My company lacks the human or financial resources to make this training possible.“

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We conduct the experiment with an envisaged sample size of 2,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Germany.
Respondents answer the survey questions autonomously on their own as a pen-and-paper survey.
The respondents are shown a hypothetical scenario (vignette) of an employee in their company who wants to participate in further training. Each respondent will see one vignette that is randomly assigned. Afterwards, the respondent will be asked several items about the likelihood to allow the further training as well as reasons for the decision and consequences for the employee and the respondent’s company due to the further training.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization will be carried out in office by a computer before the survey is sent to potential participants.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
2,000 firm managers
Sample size: planned number of observations
2,000 firm managers
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
German Association for Experimental Economic Research
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number