An RCT to Investigate the Impact of a Nudge on Students’ Declaration of Economics Major

Last registered on March 30, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

An RCT to Investigate the Impact of a Nudge on Students’ Declaration of Economics Major
Initial registration date
March 29, 2023

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
March 30, 2023, 4:05 PM EDT

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


Primary Investigator

Georgia State University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Georgia State University
PI Affiliation
Georgia State University
PI Affiliation
Georgia State University
PI Affiliation
Georgia State University
PI Affiliation
Georgia State University

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
The introductory economics courses serve as a gateway to many students in the university experience, most of whom may have never considered having economics declared as a major. This experience is especially true for students from underrepresented backgrounds. This research adds to the current literature by directly investigating the effectiveness of light-touch nudge intervention on the increase in the number of students who declare economics as a major or minor. In addition, we contribute by investigating how the nudge emails affect the socioeconomic and racial diversity of undergraduate Economics. Finally, we investigate the impact of students receiving an email nudging those who performed well in the introductory level economics courses to become Economics majors. We will randomly select students who perform well with an A or B grade in the introductory economics courses to be part of a treatment and control group of students who receive the email nudge from the economics department. The introductory economics courses are ECON 2100 – Global Economy, ECON 2105 – Principles of Macroeconomics, and ECON 2106 – Principles of Microeconomics.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Almada, Lorenzo et al. 2023. "An RCT to Investigate the Impact of a Nudge on Students’ Declaration of Economics Major." AEA RCT Registry. March 30.
Experimental Details


We investigate how a nudge email affects a student’s decision to declare economics as a major or minor. Specifically, after the department sends emails, we will compare major declarations of the students who perform well in the introductory economics courses.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Student Major Declaration, Student Minor Declaration.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We will collect students’ major and minor declaration data on January 12th, the last registration date for the Spring 2024 semester. The primary outcome will be compared to students’ major and minor at the beginning of the randomization.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This study uses a randomized control trial to study the impact of email nudges on students’ major and minor declaration decisions. We will have two treatment arms targeting different groups of students. Group 1 will be students who received A- or higher in the introductory level economics course in Fall 2022, and group 2 will be students who received between B+ and B-. We will randomly assign students into treatment and control groups within grade groups. Thus, we have treatment 1, control 1, treatment 2, and control 2. We have a sample size of 1610 students for group 1, divided into 809 students for treatment 1 and 801 for control 1. We have 800 students for group 2, divided into 402 students for treatment 2 and 398 for control 2. Randomization is done in a secure office by a password-protected computer.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization is done in an office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Individual randomization
Sample size: planned number of observations
2410 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Treatment 1: 809 You’re awesome, econ major suggestion.
Control 1: 801 No message.
Treatment 2: 402 Growth mindset, econ major suggestion.
Control 2: 398 No message.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
If we set an 80% chance (β=0.2) of detecting α = 0.05 level of significance, the MDE for our primary outcome is expected to be 0.124 standard-deviation units for group 1 and 0.176 standard-deviation units for group 2.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Georgia State University
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials