Experimental Design Details
We propose to conduct our experiment at the beginning of the bi-semester 2022-2023 with students enrolled in the 7 sections of Principles of Microeconomics course. The experiment will be conducted in the first class of the course. We will randomly divide all students into four equal groups, and each of these groups will sit together in their assigned classroom only for that one class. This first class, which will incorporate our intervention, will not be conducted by their regular instructor. The session will be for 1 hour and 15 minutes, where students will attend a recorded video lecture which will introduce them to the early concepts in economics for 20 minutes, students will then take an 8 question multiple choice question quiz for 10 minutes, and will then fill the teaching evaluation and demographics form (information on age, gender, programme of study, major, parental education, household income-bracket, etc.). Quiz, teaching evaluation and demographics collection will happen anonymously over Google Form after the lecture, without asking for subject's name or university id. Students will be articulately informed that as instructors, we are interested in their average understanding of the topic and their average feedback of the instructor, and therefore, all the information being collected is anonymous.
The four groups created in the experiment will include Control- Male-No Info group, where a male instructor will start teaching but will not introduce himself. The treatment groups include T1: Male-With Info group, where a male instructor will introduce himself for two minutes, before starting with the lecture; T2: Female-No info, where a female instructor will start the lecture without introducing herself; and T3: Female-With Info, where a female instructor will introduce herself for two minutes, before starting with the lecture. In order to estimate the causal effect of information provision, we record the lecture by a course instructor, and modulate the voice using a software to create a male and a female version of the same lecture. We do not use the lecture recorded in the original voice. This design aspect ensures that teaching style and effectiveness is same in all four groups.
This implies that the differences between Control and T1 groups' SET scores are attributed to provision of information intervention for males; and between T2 and T3 groups' SET scores are attributed to provision of information intervention for female instructors- and a comparison of these two differences will inform whether information provision is more effective for male instructors or female instructors. Most importantly, the difference in SET scores between Control and T2 groups will indicate whether students discriminate between male and female instructors; and a comparison with difference in SET scores between T1 and T3 groups will indicate whether such discrimination goes down in response to the intervention.
In groups T1 and T3, the information introducing the instructor will include instructor's PhD granting institution (a US university name used to reflect the typical internationally education faculty at this institution), teaching experience, research interests, and professional service engagement. We will use hypothetical names for the instructors (Amit Agarwal for male and Sunita Sharma for female), and the information curated will be such that it reflects the profile of a typical young faculty teaching such courses at the university. The experiment, however, will be conducted like a natural field experiment and students will not know the hypothetical nature of such information. This is to prevent any bias that provision of such information may cause with their regular instructor for the course. Students will, however, be sent a debriefing email at the end of the experiment informing them of the intent of the study, and to request their consent allowing us to use their data in the study.