The impact of role models on gender stereotypical beliefs about educational choices.

Last registered on November 18, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

The impact of role models on gender stereotypical beliefs about educational choices.
Initial registration date
November 14, 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
November 18, 2022, 11:17 AM EST

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


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Primary Investigator

HEC Paris

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
HEC Paris
PI Affiliation
Stockholm University
PI Affiliation
University of Cologne
PI Affiliation
Stockholm School of Economics
PI Affiliation

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 will investigate the effect of role gender stereotypes about STEM on the gender gap in STEM education. In an RCT, we will study how role models addressing gender occupational stereotypes can affect the beliefs and actual education choices of teenage students. We plan to study 15-18 year-old Swedish students (about 12,000 students) in 300 schools. Classes from participating schools will be randomly assigned to either one of 9 treatments or to control. Treated classes will receive one hour presentations from professionals working in STEM acting as role models or from a study counselor. The study follows a 3 x 3 design, where we randomly vary (a) the type of presenter (female role model, male role model, or study counselor/teacher), and (b) the category of stereotypical beliefs about STEM tackled in the presentation. We will then record educational choices of all students participating in the experiment and survey them on their perceptions about different occupations as well as their educational and occupational preferences. A random subset of students expressing interest in receiving personal advice about their educational choices will have the opportunity to talk individually with a role model.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Altmejd, Adam et al. 2022. "The impact of role models on gender stereotypical beliefs about educational choices.." AEA RCT Registry. November 18.
Sponsors & Partners


Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. Primary:
Enrollment in STEM education (high school for elementary school subjects, university for high school subjects)

2. Survey measures of preference for STEM
a) Stated intention to study and work in STEM
b) Ranking of STEM fields and occupations

3. Beliefs about STEM
a) career goals affordance
b) career skills requirement
c) workers characteristics
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The experiment will start in the autumn of 2022 in Malmö, Sweden. It is planned to continue for 3 years and to be scaled up to the national level. We will recruit subjects from the final grades of elementary school (9th grade) and STEM track high schools (3rd grade). Elementary school students apply to high school tracks in February, and high school students apply to university in April. The intervention will take place in the months preceding these periods.

Participating classes will be randomly assigned to either one of nine treatments, or to control. Six out of nine treated classes will receive one hour visits from professionals working in STEM and acting as role models. They will hold a presentation about the returns to career choices and job satisfaction in both STEM and non-STEM occupations, and will share their personal experience on job tasks, work environment and math skills that they needed to use in their careers. Role models will address one (randomly chosen) category of gender stereotypical occupational beliefs about working in STEM. Classes assigned to the remaining treatment condition will receive the same presentation, not from a role model but from a study counselor, while classes who will be assigned to the control condition will not receive any presentation.

The 3 × 3 treatment conditions will vary based on the type of presenter (female role model, male role model, school teacher) and the category of gender stereotypical beliefs about STEM that is discussed. To accurately measure individual change in beliefs and preferences, students will fill in the same questionnaire before and after role models’ visit. The questionnaire will contain questions about attitudes linked to occupational tasks, gender stereotypical perceptions of STEM occupations, self assessment of mathematical ability, study motivation, salary expectations, and perceptions of the work environment in STEM occupations. A random subset of students expressing interest in receiving personal advice about their educational choices will have the opportunity to talk individually with a role model after their visit.

Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
We plan to employ a stratified randomization procedure, stratifying elementary schools by socio-economic status. To do so we will use the Swedish SALSA scoring system. These scores predict student grades based on observables. We will use two stratas and randomize elementary schools separately by whether or not their SALSA score is above or below the mean of 232. Because we do not know which classes will end up participating each year, each class is randomized independently.

Randomization Method
Randomization is done using the attached R code.

Randomization Unit
Randomization Unit
Class level
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
We plan to work with at least 600 classes, grouped in 300 schools. The actual number of participating classes will depend on the actual participation decision of eligible schools.
Sample size: planned number of observations
We aim to work with at least 600 classes. Assuming an average of 20 students per class, we expect to have at least 12,000 observations.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
600 classes by 9 treatment arms = 66.6 classes per treatment * 20 students per class = 1300 students
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Dnr 2022-00488-01