Parents’ perceptions of occupational fit

Last registered on June 01, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Parents’ perceptions of occupational fit
Initial registration date
February 05, 2024

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
February 06, 2024, 5:29 PM EST

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

Last updated
June 01, 2024, 11:39 AM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

University of Zurich

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Zurich

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 goal of this research project is to test whether parents’ perceptions of occupational fit affect students’ occupational aspirations and their beliefs about fit in certain occupations. Particularly, we will test whether increasing the salience of parents’ perceptions of occupational fit increases the occupational segregation by gender. To test this hypothesis, we designed a field experiment where we for treated students i) provide information about what other parents think would be a good occupational fit for their child, and ii) increase the salience of their own parents. We compare the treated group to a control group that does not receive information about other parents nor answer questions about their parents.

The randomized controlled trial (RCT) will be implemented among students from the German-speaking parts of Switzerland who plan to do an apprenticeship. In this setting, around two-thirds of a birth cohort will do an apprenticeship after compulsory education (typically starting after 9th grade). Although there are various possibilities for further training and education after the completion of an apprenticeship, the initial choice of the occupation of the apprenticeship is deterministic of eventual occupational choice.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Brenøe, Anne and Daphne Rutnam. 2024. "Parents’ perceptions of occupational fit." AEA RCT Registry. June 01.
Experimental Details


We have two treatment groups. Students in the treatment groups will i) receive information about what other parents think would be a good occupational fit for their child, and ii) increase the salience of their own parents through some questions. In the parents-treatment (T1) group, we always refer to both parents, while we in the same-gender parent-treatment (T2) group always refer to the student’s same-gender parent (i.e., mothers for female students and fathers for male students).
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
1) interests in gender-congruent occupations
2) beliefs about fit to gender-congruent occupations
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
1) GC aspirations: collected through incentivized intentions to do a GC TA TA (measured by the share of same-gender apprentices in past cohorts they choose in a lottery where they can win a TA) and unincentivized intensions to choose GC relative to gender-incongruent (GIC) occupations (the number of points out of five allocated to GC occupations between four fictive apprenticeship offers).

2) Beliefs about GC fit: we construct a weighted summary index based on three questions about their beliefs about how well own skills fit, how much they would like the work tasks, and how well they would get along with colleagues if they would do an apprenticeship in a GC occupation. We ask these questions for two GC occupations.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
1) Each of the belief questions used to construct the beliefs about GC fit index (collected immediately after treatment).
2) Beliefs about employer demand in GC occupations (collected immediately after treatment).
3) Occupational interests collected through a two-week follow-up survey.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The field experiment is implemented through an online survey. We recruit students for the survey through a popular newsletter and schools. We target students who are attending the last two years of compulsory schooling (8th and 9th grade) and adolescents who have completed compulsory education and are intending to do an apprenticeship next school year.

In the first survey, students fill in a baseline questionnaire, are randomized into one of the three study arms, and fill in the immediate follow up questionnaire. Two weeks after participating in the baseline survey, we invite students to fill in a brief follow up survey.

Randomization of the treatment will be done at the individual level. We stratify randomization by gender and by whether the apprenticeship occupation of their top priority has a share of at least 70% of their own gender among recent graduation cohorts. We will randomize 40% of the participants into the control arm and 30% into each of the treatment arms.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization is done by a computer (in Qualtrics).
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Target sample is 3,000 individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
Target sample is 3,000 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
900 treatment 1, 900 treatment 2, 1200 control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Our target sample size will allow us to detect effects of about 0.104 standard deviations in the outcome when we pool treatment arms and pool students. With separate treatment arms, it will allow us to detect effects of about 0.124 standard deviations. We will be able to detect effects of about 0.148 standard deviations by gender for the pooled treatment, and 0.172 standard deviations by gender for the separate treatments.

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 # 2024-004
Analysis Plan

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