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Does Ignorance of Economic Returns Explain the Educational Aspiration Gap? Evidence from Representative Survey Experiments among Adolescents
Last registered on June 02, 2018

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Does Ignorance of Economic Returns Explain the Educational Aspiration Gap? Evidence from Representative Survey Experiments among Adolescents
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003022
Initial registration date
May 28, 2018
Last updated
June 02, 2018 6:47 AM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
ifo Institut
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
ifo Institute
PI Affiliation
ifo Institute
PI Affiliation
ifo Institute
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2018-06-04
End date
2021-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The gap in university enrolment by parental education is large and persistent in many countries. In this project, we investigate whether information about returns to university education can close the gap in aspired university attainment of adolescents in Germany. For that purpose, we implement a survey experiment among a representative sample of adolescents aged between 14 and 17 years, in which treatment group members are informed about average earnings by educational degree. By comparing responses between the uninformed control group and the informed treatment group, we aim to evaluate (i) whether information affects university aspirations per se and (ii) whether information affects the gap in aspirations by parental educational background.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Grewenig, Elisabeth et al. 2018. "Does Ignorance of Economic Returns Explain the Educational Aspiration Gap? Evidence from Representative Survey Experiments among Adolescents." AEA RCT Registry. June 02. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3022-1.0.
Former Citation
Grewenig, Elisabeth et al. 2018. "Does Ignorance of Economic Returns Explain the Educational Aspiration Gap? Evidence from Representative Survey Experiments among Adolescents." AEA RCT Registry. June 02. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3022/history/30273.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We investigate how information about average earnings with different educational degrees (no degree, apprenticeship degree, and university degree) affects adolescents’ aspired university attainment.
Adolescents in the treatment group will be (i) asked about their prior beliefs on the average earnings by educational degree, (ii) informed about the actual average earnings, and (iii) asked the extent to which they aspire a university education. Adolescents in the control group answer the same outcome questions, but without receiving information about university returns (i.e., without stage (ii)).
Intervention Start Date
2018-06-04
Intervention End Date
2018-07-03
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our primary outcome is respondents’ aspiration for a university education.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The outcome question on the aspired university attainment is worded as follows:
“Imagine you have just finished your university entrance degree. In that case, would you like to study (e.g. on a university or university of applied sciences)?”
Answers to this question can be provided on an 11-point scale, where 0 is labelled with “by no means” and 10 is labelled with “absolutely”.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
We plan to perform heterogeneity analyses with respect to respondents’ parental education and respondents’ prior beliefs about average earnings.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We conduct the survey experiment in a sample of 1,000 adolescents between the age of 14 and 17 years. The survey is conducted in cooperation with a renowned German survey institute, KANTAR Public. The recruitment of the adolescents is managed by KANTAR Public, which collects the data via an online platform. That is, our participants answer the survey questions autonomously on their own digital devices. Randomization is carried out by KANTAR Public at the individual level, using a computer.

Our experiment is structured as follows:
Respondents will be randomly assigned to the treatment group (p=0.5) or the control group (p=0.5)

Sequence of events in the treatment group:
1. Belief elicitation about average earnings by educational degree
2. Information provision
3. Elicitation of aspired university education

Sequence of events in the control group:
1. Belief elicitation about average earnings by educational degree
2. Elicitation of aspired university education

Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization is carried out by the survey company KANTAR Public, using a computer.
Randomization Unit
at the individual level
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
1,000
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,000 adolescents in the age between 14 and 17 years
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
500 adolescents in the treatment group, 500 in the control group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Ethics Committe of the University of Munich (LMU)
IRB Approval Date
2018-05-23
IRB Approval Number
2018-04,