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Reducing marine debris pollution by changing household behavior through children education
Last registered on September 03, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Reducing marine debris pollution by changing household behavior through children education
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004650
Initial registration date
August 30, 2019
Last updated
September 03, 2019 3:49 PM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of Concepcion
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE)
PI Affiliation
University of Gothenburg
PI Affiliation
Wageningen University and Research
PI Affiliation
University of Bio-Bío
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2019-06-17
End date
2019-12-13
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This paper aims at evaluating the direct and indirect effects of an educational program on students and parents knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) regarding consumption and disposal of plastics. The program takes the form of an environmental education module with value-laded content, targeting 15 matched pairs of primary schools, as part of their subjects. The intervention is an adaptation of the content and curricula embedded in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOOA) marine debris program. The contents are reinforced with messages, activities and homework appealing to personal norms, being the latter designed to invoke parents attention indirectly. The program is implemented in partnership with the Biobío regional office of the Ministry of the Environment of the Government of Chile (MMA), targeting schools participating in the sustainable school program, which is led by this institution. To account for the behavior of children and parents at home before and after the intervention, the experimental design also consists of the implementation of ex-ante and ex-post surveys. This allows us to control for observable characteristics at the individual level, to understand households’ dynamics in relation with consumption and disposal of plastic, and to investigate to which extent households’ knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding marine plastic pollution problem, and other environmental problems and environmentally friendly practices are affected in response to the program. We expect that a program of this sort may have a largest impact on behavior, compared with the provision of environmental education alone.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Jaime Torres , Mónica Marcela et al. 2019. "Reducing marine debris pollution by changing household behavior through children education." AEA RCT Registry. September 03. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4650-2.0.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We design and implement a randomized field experiment targeting a sample of 15 matched pairs of schools participating in the sustainable school program, led by the Ministry of Environment of the Government of Chile (MMA). The experiment involves the provision of an environmental education program with value-laden content. We target students attending all fourth grades in the treated schools. Because the program aims at assessing both a direct and a spillover effect, environmental education is coupled with activities that involve the parents.
Intervention Start Date
2019-06-17
Intervention End Date
2019-12-13
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Based on the KAP module, we have three main outcome of interest: knowledge, attitudes and practices. Knowledge about plastic pollution problem is measured as the percentage of correct answers from a list of 11 questions. Attitudes regarding plastic pollution problem and disposal of plastic are proxied by an index comprising 6 questions. Finally, practices include a series of actions carried out by individuals, covering different levels along the plastic impact pathway (i.e., consumption and disposal of plastic), as suggested by Alpizar et al (2019). The outcomes of interest in terms of consumption are: (i) An index of plastic composition of children’s school lunch box, and (ii) an index of intensity of plastic use in the household on a daily base. Similarly, in terms of disposal we define the following outcomes: (i) waste separation, and (ii) an index of frequency of plastic waste separation and disposal.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
An intervention of this sort could lead to either weak or strong effects. A weak effect can be understood as a change in the individual’s knowledge/attitudes that may not necessarily translate into changes in behavior. In contrast, a strong effect will necessarily imply a change in behavior, which operates through actions and practices.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
To account for the behavior of children and parents at home before and after the intervention, the experimental design also consists of the implementation of ex-ante and ex-post surveys, in combination with the environmental education program.This allows us to control for observable characteristics at the individual level, to understand households’ dynamics in relation with consumption and disposal of plastic, and to investigate to which extent households’ knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding marine plastic pollution problem and other environmental problems and environmentally friendly practices are affected in response to the program. Because we focus on direct and spillover effects of the program, these surveys are administered to both children and parents.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
In the Chilean setting there is an extensive heterogeneity among schools, and these characteristics may affect the actual knowledge, attitudes and actions towards the use of plastics and the subsequent contribution to marine plastic pollution. We take these characteristics into account as part of the experimental design by generating a matched sample of schools based on the following observables: (i) coastal versus non-coastal towns, (ii) low- versus high-income schools, (iii) public versus private schools, and (iv) low- and high-level of environmental commitment of schools, based on their performance in the sustainable school program. This scheme allows us to generate a subset of schools that are comparable in the baseline. From our population of 105 schools, we randomly select 15 matched pairs of schools, being 15 schools assigned to the treatment group and 15 schools assigned to the control group, respectively
Randomization Unit
Schools
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
30 schools (i.e.,15 schools were assigned to treatment group, and 15 schools were assigned to control group).
Sample size: planned number of observations
Although the treatment is assigned at the school level, our unit of analysis the individual (i.e., pupils and parents/guardians). Based on official records, there are, on average, 2 courses per grade, and 25 students -on average- per class, so we expect to have a sample size of about 1320 pupils and 1320 parents/guardians,
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
15 schools control, and 15 schools treatment, respectively.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Because previous measures of knowledge and attitudes regarding plastic pollution problem are unknown, we focus on actions and practices. We use information from the Chilean National Survey of the Environment carried out in 2018. This survey only contains partial information of plastic disposal practices, however. These figures indicate that, in the Biobio region, 43.9% of individuals separate plastic recipients for recycling, with a standard deviation of 49.66%. Assuming a statistical power of 80% and without repetition, the minimum detectable effect for our total sample of 1,320 students is 7%.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Environment for Development Initiative
IRB Approval Date
2019-06-03
IRB Approval Number
N/A
Analysis Plan

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