Anticipated Career Costs of Child and Family Formation Decisions

Last registered on June 30, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Anticipated Career Costs of Child and Family Formation Decisions
Initial registration date
June 03, 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
June 24, 2024, 11:52 AM EDT

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

Last updated
June 30, 2024, 7:49 PM EDT

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



Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Michigan

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
This study explores the impact of anticipated career interruptions due to child-rearing on individuals' decisions about marriage and fertility in South Korea. Recent literature has highlighted the compatibility of women's career and family goals as key drivers of fertility (Doepke et al., 2023). In this context, individuals' expectations about their own (or spouse's) career cost due to having a child may influence their family formation decisions. Especially in a society like South Korea, where extremely low fertility rates exist, these expectations are likely to be formed pessimistically and drive the birth rates even lower.

The main research questions this study aims to answer are the following:
R1) To what extent do individuals anticipate career costs associated with having a child? Are these expectations based on objective information?
R2) Is there a relationship between anticipated career costs and marital and fertility plans? Does adjusting anticipated costs through information lead to changes in these plans?
R3) How do the above differ according to individuals' characteristics, preferences, and experiences?

Specifically, we will conduct a survey among wage workers in South Korea aged 29-40. Through an information provision experiment, we will examine how providing objective information about the true probability of women continuing to work post-childbirth affects changes in expectations and family formation plans.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Kim, Bongseop and Tammy Sunju Lee. 2024. "Anticipated Career Costs of Child and Family Formation Decisions." AEA RCT Registry. June 30.
Experimental Details


We will conduct an online survey in South Korea. We will recruit a nationally representative sample of 3,000 employees (born in South Korea and aged between 19 and 40) in terms of age, gender, and region, through a survey company. The survey will take approximately 30 minutes.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our primary outcomes of interest are:

1) Beliefs about the proportion of workers who continue working after having a child (population beliefs)
2) Expectations about own/spouse's career cost of child (self beliefs)
3) Family formation intentions (having a child, marriage)

Regarding (1), we will examine the population beliefs separately about the entire workforce and workers in specific industries. To incentivize accurate responses, participants will receive additional compensation for correct answers. For (2), we will measure various aspects of the career cost of a child such as the anticipated probability of continuing work, wage levels, working hours, and re-employment probabilities. For (3), we will measure intentions in terms of the desire to have a child and marriage, the desired time, and the expected probability of having a child after certain years. Additionally, we will attempt to capture real behavior by checking whether participants click links related to the information on government-provided benefits for having a child and marriage in Korea.

In most cases, we will measure the above outcomes twice - before and after information treatments.

Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Our secondary outcomes of interest are:

1) Preference for work and family, Gender norm
2) Job/Workplace characteristics: industry, occupation, number of employees, possibility of using family-friendly policies
3) Experience: information about mother, sisters, brother's spouse, experience in the workplace

Using this information, we will categorize groups to analyze the heterogeneity in belief formation and the impact of these beliefs on family formation decisions.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We designed an information provision experiment to assess whether individuals modify their marital and fertility intentions upon updating expectations about their own(or their spouse's) career costs of having a child. To achieve this, we generate exogenous variations in the information set (population beliefs) that individuals use to form their expectations.

Specifically, respondents will be assigned to one of two treatment groups or a control group. The first treatment group receives information about the average and industry-specific probability of women continuing to work two years post-childbirth, while the second treatment group receives information about the probability at five years post-childbirth. The control group, on the other hand, receives information about the proportion of college graduates in the labor market (placebo information). The information used will be obtained from administrative data provided by Statistics Korea.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Survey participants are randomly assigned to the treatment and control groups by the survey platform software used by the survey company.
Randomization Unit
Survey respondent
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
3,000 respondents
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1,000 for each arm
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Seoul National University Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


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