The Cost of Gender Stereotypes

Last registered on October 28, 2019


Trial Information

General Information

The Cost of Gender Stereotypes
Initial registration date
October 24, 2019

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
October 28, 2019, 1:28 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

Bocconi University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Harvard University

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
In this project, we will implement an experiment on a sample of around 3000 middle school students (11 to 14 years old) enrolled across 14 schools in 7 Italian cities. The experiment is designed to evaluate the cost of gender stereotypes, including self-stereotypes of students, stereotypes induced by peers' and parents' pressure. Students will perform two tasks: the first task involves math multiple-choice questions and the second task literature multiple-choice questions. For each correct question they will get one point and the student with the highest score in the class will get a 10 euro gift card. Before performing the two tasks, each student can choose one task to get double points and therefore increase their likelihood of winning. We will randomly assign the type of information given to students when making this choice to evaluate if students are more likely to choose the gender conforming field under different circumstances. The information shared is designed to create variation in students' beliefs on who will have knowledge of their decisions and on parents' recommendations/ beliefs. The final goal is to evaluate whether there are significant gender differences on the efficiency of this decision making process and how these differences vary considering different information frameworks.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Carlana, Michela and Lucia Corno. 2019. "The Cost of Gender Stereotypes." AEA RCT Registry. October 28.
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Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Choice of the subject for children's experiment: math or literature.
Choice of high-school track for parents' experiment.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
CHILDREN EXPERIMENT: We will randomly assign students at individual level to the six different interventions. The enumerator will provide the same information to all students. However, while completing the survey in the tablets, students will receive the different information for the different treatment groups. With this experiment, we want to understand, first, whether girls (boys) are systematically more likely to pick the gender conforming tasks compared to what would be efficient given their performance in both tasks in the control condition. If so, we would provide evidence of self-stereotypes of students. Second, we want to understand whether social image concerns may push students to behave in a direction closer to the one predicted by gender stereotypes. Third, we want to understand whether girls avoid specific fields, such as math, because they do not want to be the only girls in the group interaction and whether boys boys avoid humanistic field because they don't want to be the only boy in the group interaction. Fourth, we want to see whether prompting children to think about the recommendation from their parents induces them to choose more or less gender stereotypical than children's choice in the control group. Finally, we will study whether informing children that their parents will observe their choice affects their decision.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done with Qualtrics
Randomization Unit
The unit of randomization is the student.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
3000 pupils (15 schools)
Sample size: planned number of observations
3000 pupils
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
500 students
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
0.14 standard deviations

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Bocconi University
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials