How can role models influence their role aspirants? Empirical evidence from schools in China.

Last registered on January 31, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

How can role models influence their role aspirants? Empirical evidence from schools in China.
Initial registration date
January 30, 2024

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
January 31, 2024, 1:33 PM EST

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



Primary Investigator

University of Washington

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
This is a randomized controlled trail (RCT) that randomizes middle school students to watch one of the video-recorded interviews with two role models. Growing literature has focused on the role model impacts and the underlying mechanisms. The aim of this RCT is to study the marginal effects of different content shared by the role models, or the marginal effects of disclosing information about the role models on their role aspirants.

Besides student test scores, this study collects student beliefs about gender and ability, their aspirations, behaviors (efforts spent on study, school absence, confidence of achieving goals), subjective well-being. This study also invite students' parents and head teachers to participate in a baseline survey. Therefore, this study aims to explore the changes in mechanisms due to different content shared by role models or different information revealed about role models.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Di, Aochun (Aurelia). 2024. "How can role models influence their role aspirants? Empirical evidence from schools in China.." AEA RCT Registry. January 31.
Experimental Details


The classes of the first group (Group1) of recruited schools are randomized to either one of the three treatment arms or one control arm:
- Very successful+background similarities role models,
- Very successful role models,
- Moderately successful role models,
- Control: a non-academic class meeting.

The classes of the second group (Group2) of recruited schools are randomized to either one of the three treatment arms or one control arm:
- Complete (Attitude+Behavior) role models,
- Attitude role models,
- Behavior role models,
- Control: a non-academic class meeting.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Midterm test scores, final exam test scores.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Midterm exams took place within one month after the interventions, while the final exams happened more than two months after the interventions.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Student aspirations, beliefs about gender and ability, study efforts, confidence level of achieving goals, school absent days, subjective well-being
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
- Baseline surveys sent to the recruited students, their parents, and the head teachers of the recruited classes.
- Interventions.
- Follow-up survey to the recruited students.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
By a computer (excel).
Randomization Unit
In the unit of class.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
100 classes (49 classes in Group1, and 51 classes in Group2)
Sample size: planned number of observations
4792 students (1990 students in Group1, 2802 students in Group2)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Group1: 13 classes control, 12 classes very successful+backgrounds role models, 12 classes very successful role models, 12 classes moderately successful+backgrounds role models.
Group2: 9 classes control, 14 classes Attitude role models, 14 classes Behavior role models, 14 classes Complete (Attitude+Behavior) role models.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Washington
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
April 22, 2023, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Data Collection Completion Date
July 15, 2023, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials