The Effect of Post-Baccalaureate Certificates on Job Search: Results from a Correspondence Study
Last registered on January 15, 2019


Trial Information
General Information
The Effect of Post-Baccalaureate Certificates on Job Search: Results from a Correspondence Study
Initial registration date
March 21, 2017
Last updated
January 15, 2019 11:19 AM EST
Primary Investigator
Kansas State University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Kansas State University
PI Affiliation
Kansas State University
Additional Trial Information
On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
The ultimate goal of this project is to determine whether, controlling for other worker characteristics, employers place value on post-baccalaureate certificate receipt. This will be accomplished through the use of a correspondence study, which consists of sending fictitious résumés to real job postings and comparing how the callback rates differ between those fictitious applicants who have received a post-baccalaureate certificate versus those who have not. The number of post-baccalaureate certificates granted per year has increased greatly in recent years, with Capuzzi (2012) reporting a 46% increase from 2005 to 2010. Our study is one of the first to examine the impact of these certificates on the labor market outcomes of recipients, and thus may have important implications in both an academic and policy setting.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Cassidy, Hugh, Amanda Gaulke and Sheryll Namingit. 2019. "The Effect of Post-Baccalaureate Certificates on Job Search: Results from a Correspondence Study." AEA RCT Registry. January 15.
Former Citation
Cassidy, Hugh et al. 2019. "The Effect of Post-Baccalaureate Certificates on Job Search: Results from a Correspondence Study." AEA RCT Registry. January 15.
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Experimental Details
Randomly assign one applicant in the pair that applies to a job with a post-baccalaureate certificate.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Callback rates (if potential employer calls or emails the job candidate)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
a. Collection of job advertisements from online job boards
• Each RA will be assigned a city from which they can collect job ads from. The RA will look for 10-15 jobs per day. For each job, the RA will record important information about the job and encode this in our research database.
b. Sending out of resumes
• Once information on job ads are collected, the RAs will draw from a pool of resumes and send the resumes. They will need to record the date each resume was sent.
c. Recording Callbacks and Responding to Employers
• After the resumes are sent, the RAs will have to go to the applicants email and Vumber accounts to check and record any response from the employer. They will need to carefully encode these responses in our research database.
• Once the callbacks are recorded, the RAs will immediately email interested employers and inform them of the applicant’s unavailability. If the employers contacted us via telephone or text only (no email), the RAs will use Slybroadcast to leave voicemails informing employers of the applicant’s unavailability.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Job Applicant
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Approximately 6,000 applicants
Based on a referee comment for an R&R we have been asked to send more resumes in which we change the format of where the certificates are listed. In order to address this comment we plan to send an additional 2,000 resumes.
Sample size: planned number of observations
Approximately 6,000 applicants plus the additional 2,000 to address the referee comment.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
The applicants are pairs in which one is the treatment and one is the control. This gives approximately 3,000 treatment applicants and 3,000 control applicants. To address the referee comment we plan to send another 2,000 resumes which will result in around 4,000 treatment applicants and around 4,000 control applicants.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
Kansas State University
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan
Analysis Plan Documents
Analysis Plan

MD5: 810f6cdd560485fcc15cffac0a951818

SHA1: 0ac36c4bd7d30f96ff022b30f3c78304b233a1d8

Uploaded At: March 29, 2017

Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers