Parental Input and Occupational choices: Gendered Disparities in Advice?

Last registered on May 08, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Parental Input and Occupational choices: Gendered Disparities in Advice?
Initial registration date
August 14, 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 16, 2023, 11:21 AM EDT

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

Last updated
May 08, 2024, 4:18 AM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator

University of Bern

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Bern

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
How do parents advise their children on decisions about occupational and vocational choices? Is parental occupational advice gender-blind? This study aims to investigate whether i) the child’s gender affects the occupational advice parents give and whether ii) parental, regional, and occupational characteristics potentially drive occupational advice patterns. For this purpose, we run a survey experiment where adults give occupational advice in a hypothetical parent-child scenario.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Wolter, Stefan and Thea Zöllner. 2024. "Parental Input and Occupational choices: Gendered Disparities in Advice? ." AEA RCT Registry. May 08.
Experimental Details


No intervention planned.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
• Occupational Advice
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
• Heterogeneity analysis of occupational advice by parental, regional and occupational characteristics
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Embedded in a larger survey experiment, a representative sample of 6,000 Swiss residents between the ages of 25 and 60 gives occupational advice in a hypothetical parent-child setting. That is, participants give occupational advice to a hypothetical child who must decide between accepting one of two apprenticeship offers. The participants provide advice on which offer their hypothetical child should accept.
Our survey design is tailored to the Swiss setting, which is ideal to analyze our research question for at least two reasons. First, the majority of students are underage upon receiving work and training contracts, requiring them to discuss their occupational aspirations with their parents and obtain parental signatures on the contract. Second, students choosing to pursue an apprenticeship can choose from a large variety of around 240 occupations.

To investigate whether parental career advice is gender-blind across occupations, the design creates variation in the gender of the child. That is, participants are randomized at the individual level into two groups: (1) group 1 is assigned to a hypothetical female child, and (2) group 2 is assigned to a hypothetical male child. We stratify randomization on gender, language region, and sex. Half of the participants are randomized into group 1 and the other half into group 2. Further, participants are presented a random draw of two occupations (job offers of their hypothetical child) always including one female-dominated occupation and one male-dominated occupation. Both occupations are similar in their aggregate occupational requirements (mathematics, science, language). To cover the variety of occupations, we include a representative number of female- and male-dominated occupations in the draw.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Individual-level randomization by computer.
Randomization Unit
The main randomization is at the individual level. Respondents are randomly assigned at the individual level to a hypothetical daughter or a hypothetical son. Further, participants are presented a random draw of two occupations (job offers of their hypothetical child).
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
6,000 Swiss residents between the age 25 and 60
Sample size: planned number of observations
6,000 Swiss residents between the age 25 and 60
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
3,000 Swiss residents who are assigned a hypothetical daughter, 3,000 Swiss residents who are assigned a hypothetical son
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät Ethikkommission
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
October 31, 2023, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Data Collection Completion Date
October 31, 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
2977 hypothetical daughters, 2975 hypothetical sons
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Despite numerous measures intended to enhance gender equality, gender-specific study and career choices remain a persistent concern for policymakers and academics globally. We contribute to the literature on gendered career choices by focusing on explicitly stated parental preferences for their children’s occupations, using a large-scale randomized survey experiment with adults (N=5940) in Switzerland. The focus on parents (and hypothetical parents) is motivated by the observation that adolescents consistently mention their parents as the single most important factor influencing their career choices. The surveyed adults are
presented with a realistic choice situation, in which their hypothetical daughter or son has been proposed two different training occupations. The pair of occupations presented to the adults is drawn from a random sample of 105 pairs of occupations, and the respondents are not informed about the gender distribution of the two occupations. Results show that adults are gender-neutral when advising a daughter but have a pronounced preference for male-dominated occupations when advising sons. Preferences are almost identical for parents and non-parents and across age cohorts of adults.
Wolter, S. C. , and T. Zöllner (2024): "Are Parents an Obstacle to Gender-Atypical Occupational Choices?" IZA Discussion Paper Series No. 16955

Reports & Other Materials