Divorce Risk and Household Specialization

Last registered on November 29, 2023

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Divorce Risk and Household Specialization
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0012494
Initial registration date
November 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
November 29, 2023, 9:53 AM EST

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

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Zurich

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Tufts University
PI Affiliation
University of Zurich
PI Affiliation
University of Zurich

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2023-11-15
End date
2024-12-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
This study aims to understand if women internalize "the limited commitment problem" — that is, the risk of divorce and the consequences of household specialization in the event of divorce — when considering their future financial situation and making decisions about household specialization. To do this, we randomize exposure to a (real) divorce experience through a brief testimonial video that highlights women's experiences and decision-making regarding divorce-associated financial risks and household specialization. We measure whether exposure to a divorce experience can shift women’s perception of divorce risk and divorce-related financial risks. Additionally, we measure whether this exposure may change women’s willingness to take preventive measures to mitigate these risks.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Costa-Ramon, Ana et al. 2023. "Divorce Risk and Household Specialization." AEA RCT Registry. November 29. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.12494-1.0
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
To test how learning through a divorce experience can impact women’s perceptions and behaviors, we design a testimonial intervention. We do this through a video that features two real women sharing their own personal experiences regarding the financial risk from a reduced workload in case of divorce and potential strategies to mitigate this risk. We selected these two examples to provide two relevant perspectives: one, a woman who specialized in household care and experienced a divorce and the related financial consequences, and the other, a woman who, together with her partner, decided to take preventive measures to mitigate the financial risks associated with (relative) household specialization.

The control group receives a video of similar duration but on an unrelated topic. We use videos created by the national public television as part of their regular programming (https://www.srf.ch/). We randomize the control group into the following videos:
- a video portraying people talking about seeing a psychologist and the taboo of seeking help for mental health.
- a video explaining how digital media, particularly mobile devices, can have a detrimental impact on family bonds and impact the cognitive development of children, with a focus on explaining findings from research.
Intervention Start Date
2023-11-15
Intervention End Date
2024-01-01

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The intervention is hypothesized to:

1) Move beliefs about the likelihood of divorce and about the financial risks associated with divorce.
2) Increase the willingness to take steps to mitigate the financial risks associated with divorce.

Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The field experiment will be implemented by inviting female staff working in schools via email and physical letters in two regions in Switzerland. In Region A, we will generate individualized survey links for school staff, and the regional authorities will oversee the distribution of survey invitations through letters. In Region B, the regional authorities will establish contact with school principals by email, providing them with the survey link to our study. Subsequently, the school principals will forward this invitation to the staff within their respective schools, also through email.

We time the receipt of the letter or email during the second half of November 2023, before teachers start conversations with school principals about their desired workload for the upcoming academic year. This process typically starts at the beginning of December.

We randomize participants entering the survey into treatment and control at the individual level. Within the control video, we randomize the two control videos with equal probability.

We will collect survey data and we will also merge it with administrative data on workload provided by employers.



Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Individual-level randomization performed with Qualtrics.
Randomization Unit
We randomize participants entering the survey into treatment and control at the individual level.
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
At least 1000
We do not have a predetermined number of observations planned, as invitations to the study will be sent by the regional authorities and the school principals, and it will ultimately depend on the response rate.
Sample size: planned number of observations
At least 1000
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
500 observations control, 500 observations treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

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
2023-09-28
IRB Approval Number
OEC IRB # 2023-091
Analysis Plan

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