“Encouraging hands-on job experimentation among teenagers (experiment 2)”

Last registered on November 17, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

“Encouraging hands-on job experimentation among teenagers (experiment 2)”
Initial registration date
November 07, 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
November 17, 2023, 7:31 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

Bocconi University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation
University of Bern
PI Affiliation
University of Bern

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
This study aims to understand how experimentation affects job search and career choices. We hypothesize that encouraging teenagers’ experimentation of different occupations will affect their job search and ultimately help them make better choices for their career. To test this hypothesis, we designed a field experiment in collaboration with firms where the treatment consists of experiencing the real-life work environment in an occupation that the student had not considered. We compare the treated group to a control group that instead experience an occupation similar (or identical) to their preferred occupation.
We have already registered and submitted a pre-analysis plan (PAP) about a similar experiment we conduct with schools. This registration is for a second experiment that will be conducted in collaboration with firms.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Brenoe, Anne et al. 2023. "“Encouraging hands-on job experimentation among teenagers (experiment 2)”." AEA RCT Registry. November 17. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.12454-1.0
Experimental Details


To test whether experimentation with the real-life work environment in non-considered occupations affects students’ occupational search, we designed the following intervention in collaboration with several large firms in Switzerland.
All our partner firms regularly offer trial apprenticeships (TA), which are days during which students (typically in grade 8) can shadow and/or try-out tasks in a given occupation within the firm. The idea of TAs is to help students better understand their preferences before applying for apprenticeships during grade 9.
We collaborated with our partner firms to co-design a new model of TA which enables students to experiment with occupations which they did not necessarily consider before (called ”Vorschnupperlehre”/”Pre-TA”).
Students apply for this TA online, with the goal of learning more about one precise occupation. However, they know from the ad that they would experience their targeted occupation for half the time and could experience a different occupation (potentially similar, potentially different) for the other half.
Our experimental sample will consist of all the students who apply and are accepted by the company for this TA. Students who are randomized into the control arm will experience the occupation of their choice, and then a similar or identical occupation for the rest of the time. Students who are randomized into the treatment arm will similarly get to experience their targeted occupation for the first half of the TA. However, for the second half, they will experience an occupation which is different than the targeted one. In other words, the treatment is to experience an occupation they had - most likely - not considered before.
To make sure to get variation in the types of occupations experienced in the treatment group, we categorized all occupations along gender composition and the type of working environment (lab, client-facing, office).
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our primary short-term outcomes are two measures of search breadth and apprenticeship type.
1) Search breadth index: it measures the breadth of a student’s apprenticeship search in terms of occupations
2) Occupational type index: it measures how different the apprenticeships they are searching for are from their preferred occupations at baseline
In the mid-term (by the end of 9th grade), we will measure similar survey outcomes and also collect data on online apprenticeship search behavior.
In the longer term (up to four years after the event), we will collect admin data on apprenticeship contracts and turnover, as well as data from the partner firms.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
1) Beliefs about own skills fit
2) Beliefs about work tasks
3) Beliefs about work environment
4) Beliefs about employer demand
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
From each of our partner firms, we got a list of all the occupations available for TAs and classified them into one of our categories (by gender composition and workplace type). We then let the firms know which pairings of occupations for the control group and for the treatment group are possible by matching occupations belonging to the same category (for the control group) and belonging to different categories (for the treatment group). While the number of pairings is potentially large, in practice this was reduced by each firm’s logistical, geographical, and scheduling constraints.

A student in the control group is assigned to a pair of occupations within the same category. A student in the treatment group is assigned to a pair of occupations belonging to different categories. For instance, if a student applies for a TA in “logistics” and is assigned to the treatment group, s/he will be randomly assigned to see the pair of occupations “logistics” (in the first half of the TA) and “commerce” (in the second half).

The exact pair of occupations assigned to a student is random but depends on the date of the TA assigned to him/her and the location of the student. Specifically, firms provide dates to us on which they have the capacity to show our participants a morning occupation, a control occupation, and a treatment occupation. There will be different combinations for different dates, but each morning occupation of a specific date in a specific company commonly has only one treatment and one control occupation for the afternoon. The companies will only ever mention the morning occupation to potential applicants (all they know about the afternoon is that it will be another occupation in the same company). Students only learn during the morning which occupation they will experience in the afternoon.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer using Stata.
Randomization Unit
Randomization of the treatment will be done at the individual level. We stratify randomization by event (i.e., the combination of firm, location, date, and morning occupation), and gender.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Our current agreements with partner firms allow us to have 1200 TA slots in total, for an expected sample size of 1200 participants.
However, the final sample size may differ depending on take-up (i.e., some students may not show up to the TA) and logistical constraints that may arise in the companies (e.g., staff shortages in managing the TA).
Sample size: planned number of observations
1200 participants
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
600 participants in treatment and 600 in control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
See Pre Analysis Plan

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Human Subjects Committee of the Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Information Technology at the University of Zurich
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
OEC IRB # 2023-081.1
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents

Pre Analysis Plan

MD5: d5d3102de3d1965d932f813bbe2a15ec

SHA1: 272a865dbcd3396822c607c126224d0486ca7e03

Uploaded At: November 06, 2023