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Economics Instruction and Attitudes about Markets and Government
Last registered on August 30, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Economics Instruction and Attitudes about Markets and Government
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004618
Initial registration date
August 29, 2019
Last updated
August 30, 2019 9:58 AM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Santa Clara University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Skidmore College
PI Affiliation
Barnard College
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2019-09-03
End date
2020-06-26
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Economics students have been shown to behave more in accordance with traditional economic rationality in games; give less to charity; exhibit less honesty; view greed more favorably; and place greater importance on individualism than collectivism. In this research project, we investigate whether economics instruction impacts students' beliefs about markets and government. Specifically, students in introductory microeconomics courses (treatment) and introductory biology, chemistry, and physics courses (control) will take a survey designed to measure students' attitudes towards markets and government at the beginning and end of the courses. This study will be conducted at Barnard College, Skidmore College, and Santa Clara University during the 2019-2020 academic year. The primary outcome of interest is whether introductory microeconomics courses increase (decrease) support for markets (government) compared to introductory biology, chemistry, and physics courses. This will be determined using a within subject design, comparing each subjects post-course survey results to their pre-course survey results. Secondary outcomes of interest include (i) whether there are any differences between the treatment and control groups on the pre-course surveys; (ii) whether within-subject differences are correlated with demographic characteristics, e.g., gender, race, or family income; and (iii) whether within-subjects differences are correlated with other observable characteristics, e.g., textbook or instructors' attitudes toward markets and government.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Goff, Sandra, John Ifcher and Homa Zarghamee. 2019. "Economics Instruction and Attitudes about Markets and Government." AEA RCT Registry. August 30. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4618-1.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Students in introductory microeconomics courses (treatment) and introductory biology, chemistry, and physics courses (control) will take a survey designed to measure students' attitudes towards markets and government at the beginning and end of the courses.
Intervention Start Date
2019-09-03
Intervention End Date
2019-12-24
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
The primary outcome of interest is whether introductory microeconomics courses increase (decrease) support for markets (government) compared to introductory biology, chemistry, and physics courses. This will be determined using a within subject design, comparing each subjects post-course survey results to their pre-course survey results.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary outcomes of interest include (i) whether there are any differences between the treatment and control groups on the pre-course surveys; (ii) whether within-subject differences are correlated with demographic characteristics, e.g., gender, race, or family income; and (iii) whether within-subjects differences are correlated with other observable characteristics, e.g., textbook or instructors' attitudes toward markets and government.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
In this research project, we investigate whether economics instruction impacts students' beliefs about markets and government. Specifically, students in introductory microeconomics courses (treatment) and introductory biology, chemistry, and physics courses (control) will take a survey designed to measure students' attitudes towards markets and government at the beginning and end of the courses.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Students will non-randomly enroll in introductory microeconomics sections (treatment) or introductory biology, chemistry, and physics (control). While there is no randomization, the responses from introductory biology, chemistry, and physics sections are intended to serve as controls in measuring the effect of introductory microeconomics instruction on responses.
Randomization Unit
Students will be clustered by school and then by sections.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
20-30 sections
Sample size: planned number of observations
600-1000 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
10-15 introductory microeconomics sections; 10-15 introductory biology, chemistry, or physics sections.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
The majority of the outcome variables of interest have a Likert response scale that ranges from strongly disagree (=1) to strongly agree (=5). For the attitude toward market questions, we plan to conduct an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and create factor scores that are the average of the scores to items in that factor. We expect the standard deviation of the outcome variables to be approximately 1 based on prior research. Based on the above, we conducted a power calculation using the stata command “power pairedmeans” with the following parameters: standard deviation = 1, n = 800 (the middle of the range of planned observations from above), and power = 0.8. The minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes = 0.0992 (delta = 0.0992).
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Santa Clara University IRB
IRB Approval Date
2019-01-14
IRB Approval Number
18-11-1171
IRB Name
Skidmore College IRB
IRB Approval Date
2019-03-08
IRB Approval Number
1812-784
IRB Name
Barnard College
IRB Approval Date
2019-01-07
IRB Approval Number
1819-1110-020
Analysis Plan

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