Perceptions of misbehavior by gender: Evidence from the World Youth Event

Last registered on August 10, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Perceptions of misbehavior by gender: Evidence from the World Youth Event
Initial registration date
July 31, 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
August 10, 2023, 12:48 PM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Nova SBE
PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
An event of the size of the WYD, which is expected to attract more than one million supportive, motivated, and inspiring young people from all around the World to Lisbon is a unique opportunity to study what this particular group thinks about gender roles and gender norms.
We will study how perceptions of potentially morally questionable behaviors are rated as unacceptable or acceptable depending on the gender of those who performed the actions.
We will run a large-scale field experiment with the pilgrims of the World Youth Day (WYD) that takes place in Lisbon in the first week of August 2023. Half of the respondents of our survey will be asked to rate, on a scale from one to six, three generic (mis)behaviors from three different hypothetical males while the other half will be faced with female names. We will then compare the differences in an econometric framework.
In addition, we will test if the gender of the enumerator (we plan to have around 30 young assistants, most of them students at ISEG – University of Lisbon and Nova SBE) changes how pilgrims at the WYD respond to these questions.
Finally, we will ask if people have confessed or are planning to confess to analyze potential heterogeneous effects.
The Catholic Church plays a significant role in the lives of millions of people around the world. Therefore, understanding the level of gender discrimination in their teachings and actions is of big importance. For example, the construction and evaluation of the effectiveness of public policies for mitigating gender discrimination depends on the existence of discrimination in the family and religious environment, and this discrimination needs to be rigorously studied. The present study intends to overcome the difficulty that has existed in studying discrimination in a religious setting. In particular, it aims to investigate whether Catholics perceive potentially morally unacceptable actions differently based on the gender of the person who committed them.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Maximiano, Sandra et al. 2023. "Perceptions of misbehavior by gender: Evidence from the World Youth Event." AEA RCT Registry. August 10.
Sponsors & Partners


Experimental Details


We aim at approaching the pilgrims in the surrounding areas of Parque do Perdão
(forgivenss park) ( The choice of this
space is due, on the one hand, to being a space of healing, reconciliation, gift, and joy, being
a moment where social and moral preferences can be more salient and, very importantly,
where a transmitting effect of generosity for the general population may arise. On the
other hand, it is a space where there will be moments of waiting, given the estimated
demand and the number of existing concessionaires, therefore pilgrims are more willing to
participate in the study. Moreover, in other spaces, where other activities take place, it
would most likely imply the interruption of the pilgrims' attention and the research team
intends to be as non-invasive as possible.
It should be noted that the volunteers who will carry out the interviews will be trained by
the research team so that they are careful and sensitive in their approach, so as not to
disturb the pilgrims during their most introspective moments. We will only have
participants above 17 years old, that can speak and understand Portuguese or English.
Parque do Perdão will be operating from 9h to 16h on August 1, 3, and 4 and from 9h to
18h on August 2.
In our short and anonymized survey, we will collect basic socio-demographic information,
including gender, age, nationality, whether they are in Lisbon specifically for the WYD,
highest level of education attained, and standard measures of the “The Centrality of
Religiosity Scale (CRS)” by Huber and Huber (2012),
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
difference in and index of a rate of how morally condemnable are three particular situations between male and female names
difference in and index of a rate of how morally condemnable are three particular situations between male and female enumerators
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Morally rate the following fictional situations on a scale from 1 (morally objectionable) to 6 (not morally objectionable):
1. Fictitious male/ female name, missed work because he went to a party the day before, and lied to the employer saying he was sick
2. Fictitious male/ female name always works late and can rarely pick up the children from school
3. Fictitious male/ female name, who is married, went out at night and had sex with a stranger
We will construct an index summing these numbers. We may analyze these outcomes separately, taking into account multiple hypothesis testing.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
difference in and index of a rate of how morally condemnable are three particular situations between male and female names, before and after confession
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design

We will present three hypothetical situations and asking subjects to rate them in moral
terms as unacceptable or acceptable (scale 0 to 6). Half of the respondents will be informed
that three men conducted these situations while the other half will see three female
names. We will then compare average responses and control for basic socioeconomic
indicators such as age, gender, and nationality.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
The sample is randomized to the two groups according to the following proportions: Female names (50%) and Male names (50%) in the questionnaire, in a coin flip.
We plan to have around the same number of male and female enumerators. We will report this number in the paper.
Randomization Unit
individuals (pilgrims)
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
3000 individual observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
750 individuals, on average, per treatment. We will see if male or female names receive more discrimination.
In addition, we will also analyze whether these differences depend on the gender of the enumerator/ assistant.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
ISEG Comissão de Ética
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Parecer 20-A-2023
Analysis Plan

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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