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Role models, aspirations and competitive behavior
Last registered on July 05, 2018


Trial Information
General Information
Role models, aspirations and competitive behavior
Initial registration date
July 02, 2018
Last updated
July 05, 2018 2:33 PM EDT
Primary Investigator
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Additional Trial Information
In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
We conduct a lab-in-the field-experiment in which we randomly assign students in their last year of secondary education to watch aspirational videos that show potential role models. After being exposed to these videos, the students perform an effort task under different payment schemes which serves to assess their performance in competitive environments as well as their preference to enter into competition. There is empirical evidence that videos which display successful peers can increase individual aspirations. Showing aspirational videos could provide students with a new sense on what they could achieve, making them more ambitious (increasing their performance) and competitive (selecting more into competition). The potential role model effect can be larger for women, owing to the fact that women in the study region continue education and follow a career less often than men.

Furthermore, we will test with an artefactual field experiment whether aspirational videos also have real-world consequences in the decisions of the students to enter into competition or not. The same students from the lab-in-the-field experiment will be informed about two job openings in the project of one of the principal investigators. The students will have the opportunity to express their interest of applying to the job after the lab-in-the-field experiment. One week later, students who expressed their interest will have to fill out an application form. For the second part of this study, we include two treatments in each of the three treatment arms mentioned above. We randomly assign students to give their statement of interest in applying for the job privately or publicly. Showing a potential female role model might lead to more females expressing their interest in the job publicly, as it might decrease their discomfort from not adhering to gender norms.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Martini, Christina and Viviana Uruena. 2018. "Role models, aspirations and competitive behavior." AEA RCT Registry. July 05. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3119-1.0.
Former Citation
Martini, Christina, Christina Martini and Viviana Uruena. 2018. "Role models, aspirations and competitive behavior." AEA RCT Registry. July 05. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3119/history/31495.
Experimental Details
The first of the three interventions consists in screening a video that shows the story of a woman who had the goal of becoming a teacher at a University and how she achieved it despite the many hardships she faced. In the second intervention a similar video is shown, but instead of a potential female role model we provide the students with a potential male role model. In the third intervention we show a placebo video which is about life in rural and urban areas in the study region.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our primary outcomes are the following:
- performance in the effort task
- selection into inter-compeition
- selection into intra-competition
- number of expressed interests
- number of filled application forms
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Our secondary outcomes are the following:
- educational, status, wealth and asset aspirations
- aspiration index
- aspirations window
- role model
- self-efficacy
- locus of control
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
- educational, status, wealth and asset aspirations: measured by the level the participants report they want to attain in their life
- aspiration index: composite index of all the dimensions above
- aspirational window: maximum level each participant believes that an average individual can achieve in each dimension, frequency of meeting other people outside school and family, frequency of using a smartphone, and role model does not live in the same village
- role model: whether the participant has a role model
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
In our lab-in-the-field experiment we have a 3x2 Between-Subject Design: In the first treatment group the students will watch a video with a female role model and in the second treatment group subjects will watch a video with a male role model. In the third treatment participants will watch a placebo video to control for the effect of watching a video.

In our artefactual field experiment we will provide the opportunity to apply for a job as a research assistant and/or as a coordinator in the project of one of the principal investigators. We will introduce two further treatments in each intervention: In one group subjects will write their decision whether they are interested in applying or not (private treatment) and in the other group subjects will write their decision and their names will be called out loud to verify that they want to apply for the job (public treatment). The final outcome will be the number of application forms students fill in one week after the lab-in-the-field experiment.
Experimental Design Details
After watching the different videos the task and questions are the same in every group. We use an adapted design of Niederle and Vesterlund (2007). Instead of a math task, participants have to count 1's in matrices. Further, we add a new stage: We observe whether participants rather opt for piece-rate compensation or intra-competition. In the last case, they then compete against their task 1 performance. In addition, we do not provide them with information on their absolute performance after each task as Niederle and Vesterlund (2007) do, due to possible differences in feedback aversion across gender. Instead we use an incentivized question to ask subjects for their belief in their absolute performance after every task.
Randomization Method
Randomization into each treatment will be done in the office with the use of Stata/Excel.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
3-5 Schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
750 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
40 in the female video & public statement treatment
40 in the female video & private statement treatment
40 in the male video & public statement treatment
40 in the male video & private statement treatment
40 in the placebo video & public statement treatment
40 in the placebo video & private statement treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
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, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)