To address our research question, we will conduct an RCT in Ghana in June 2018. Our intervention is developed in the context of the Wave 3 of the Ghana Socioeconomic Panel Survey, a nationally representative household survey administered by University of Ghana with the next planned survey in 2022 (Wave 4). Our study will focus on the sample of about 2,000 households with at least one boy or one girl between ages 9 and 18 in 2018 who has not entered senior secondary school. In total, there will be about 3,000 children in our sample.
Because our survey questions will be integrated into the panel survey, we will collect endline data during Wave 4. Prior to our endline, we will return to collect follow-up data in June 2019.
We will randomly assign households to three information treatments. Enumerators will give each household a calendar with the relevant treatment information. In the first treatment, we provide parents and children with information about the grade-specific distribution by gender on the math and English reading assessment conducted during the survey. We will provide parents with the actual performance of their children if they scored above the median. Using previous waves of the survey, we find no significant differences in the math and English reading performance across gender. However, if parents are more likely to underestimate the performance of girls relative to boys, then there may be an under-investment in these subjects for girls.
In the second treatment, we present the same information as in the first treatment as well as potential labor market opportunities of math-related education for girls. In the third treatment, we show the information as in the first treatment and information on the benefits of math education for outcomes related to family well-being and parenting. As before, we will provide parents with the actual performance of those who score above the median. By also providing the information on overall performance by gender and subject area, the last two treatments will capture the additional effects of information on career or family well-being outcomes on educational decisions.
Moreover, in a cross-cutting design, we will randomly provide the performance information to either the mother, the father or both parents. This will allow us to evaluate whether the identity of the information recipient affects the final outcomes.
Additionally, we will also able to measure if there are any spillover effects across family members; for example, in the group where only the mother was informed, we can see if the father also updated his beliefs relatively more or less than when both parents were informed. We will also measure spillover effects onto younger siblings.
Note: Placebo calendars are provided to the control group.