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Recruiting Economics Majors: The Impact of an Information Campaign Targeted at High School Counselors
Last registered on June 29, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Recruiting Economics Majors: The Impact of an Information Campaign Targeted at High School Counselors
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004320
Initial registration date
June 17, 2019
Last updated
June 29, 2019 5:06 PM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Southern Methodist University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Texas A&M University
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2019-06-03
End date
2024-09-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We evaluate the impact of an intervention aimed at informing high school guidance counselors of the advantages of the Economics degree. Our outcomes of interest are student take-up of the economics major and subsequent labor market outcomes. We focus on Texas high schools that tend to send a high number of students to Texas A&M University. We randomly select high schools to receive an invitation to participate in a workshop at Texas A&M in early September. The workshop, targeted at guidance counselors, will provide information on the advantages to majoring in economics. Counselors at other randomly selected high schools will receive standard information materials via mail, and a third set of schools will act as a control group.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Meer, Jonathan and Danila Serra. 2019. "Recruiting Economics Majors: The Impact of an Information Campaign Targeted at High School Counselors." AEA RCT Registry. June 29. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4320-1.0.
Former Citation
Meer, Jonathan, Danila Serra and Danila Serra. 2019. "Recruiting Economics Majors: The Impact of an Information Campaign Targeted at High School Counselors." AEA RCT Registry. June 29. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/4320/history/48950.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We randomly select high schools in Texas to receive an invitation to participate in a workshop at Texas A&M in early September. The workshop, targeted at guidance counselors, will provide information on the advantages to majoring in economics. Counselors at other randomly selected high schools will receive standard information materials via mail, and a third set of schools will act as a control group.
Intervention Start Date
2019-09-06
Intervention End Date
2019-11-29
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
The primary short-term outcome is the decision to major in economics.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary longer-term variables of interest are individual labor market outcomes.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We are working with a sample of 234 high schools in Texas who have been sending the largest number of students to Texas A&M University in the past 5 years. Of them, we have randomly selected 60 schools to be part of a "Workshop" treatment group (T1). These schools will receive an invitation by email to send a high school counselor to participate in a workshop at Texas A&M on September 6, 2019. The workshop aims to inform guidance and college counselors of the advantages to majoring in Economics.

We have randomly selected an additional 57 schools to be part of our "Information only" treatment group (T2). The remaining 117 schools will be in the control group. The "information only group" will receive materials (e.g. flyers and leaflets) displaying the same information. The control group will not be contacted in any ways.

We aim to track students enrolled at Texas A&M the following academic years (2020-2021, 2021-2022, 2022-2023) and coming from treatment and control schools, to test whether the interventions had an impact on the take-up of the economics major. We also plan to use restricted-use administrative data (e.g., data from the University of Texas at Dallas Education Research Center) to identify the impact of the treatments on take-up at other universities and, ultimately, on labor market outcomes.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
We randomized schools into three groups: Control, Workshop treatment group (T1) and Information treatment group (T2).
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
234 schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
While the randomization is done at the school level, we are interested in the impact of the intervention on student-level outcomes. We will first investigate the majoring decisions of Texas A&M students coming from the 234 sampled schools. Since each school sends on average 22 students to Texas A&M per year, we will be working with approximately 5200 students per year. Our student sample will be substantially larger when we'll obtain data from the University of Texas at Dallas Education Research Center, which will allow us to examine majoring decisions and labor market outcomes for all students who graduated from the samples schools in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Control: 117 schools
T1: 60 schools
T2: 56 schools
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
The main (short-term) outcome is the decision to major in economics at Texas A&M. Given the baseline percentage of students coming to Texas A&M from the sampled schools and majoring in economics, we are powered to detect a minimum effect of 2 percentage points.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number