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Do Social Norms affect Labour Supply and Preferences for Job Attributes? Evidence From a Representative Survey Experiment (Follow up)
Last registered on October 28, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Do Social Norms affect Labour Supply and Preferences for Job Attributes? Evidence From a Representative Survey Experiment (Follow up)
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004950
Initial registration date
October 26, 2019
Last updated
October 28, 2019 11:25 AM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
ifo Institut
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
ifo Instititute
PI Affiliation
ifo Institute
PI Affiliation
ifo institut
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2019-10-28
End date
2021-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The existence of the gender gap in employment – especially during parenthood - is well established in the economic literature. But why do women work less than men?
In the first part of our experiment, we surveyed a representative sample of adolescents’ in Germany and found that adolescents reduce their planned labor market supply during parenthood and fertility expectations when being confronted with the social norm that parents of young children should reduce their labor market participation. In this project, we build on the findings of the first project and investigate remaining open questions related to the impact of social-norms information on labor supply expectations, educational, occupational, mating and fertility decisions among adolescents in Germany. For that purpose, we implement two survey experiments among an additional sample of adolescents aged between 14 and 17 years. The information treatment group in the first (second) experiment is provided with factual information about existing social norms regarding paternal/maternal labor supply (within-household division of labor). By comparing responses between the uninformed control groups and the treatment groups, we evaluate (i) whether information about social norms affects our outcome variables of interest (e.g., expected labor supply) and (ii) whether this information also affects the gender gap in these outcomes.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Grewenig, Elisabeth et al. 2019. "Do Social Norms affect Labour Supply and Preferences for Job Attributes? Evidence From a Representative Survey Experiment (Follow up)." AEA RCT Registry. October 28. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4950-1.0.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We investigate how information about social gender norms impact labor supply expectations as well as educational, occupational, mating and fertility decisions of adolescents in Germany.
For that purpose, we run two survey experiments within a large survey of adolescents in Germany. In the first experiment, information treatment group respondents will be confronted with factual information about the social norm that parents of young children are expected to reduce their labour market participation. In the second experiment, respondents in the information treatment group will be confronted with factual information about the norm that women as well as men should take equal responsibility in housework (i.e., caring for the household and children). After information provision, respondents in the treatment group and in the uninformed control group are asked about their labor supply expectations as well as their educational, occupational, mating and fertility decisions.
Intervention Start Date
2019-10-28
Intervention End Date
2019-12-12
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our primary outcomes of interest are adolescents’(i) expected labor supply, and (ii) preferences for certain job attributes.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
First, we will ask two outcome questions on future labor supply expectations. Each question comprises two items.
The first outcome question is worded as follows:
“Imagine you are 30 years old and have a child between the age of 1 and 6 years with your partner. What do you think, how many hours per week would you like to work to earn money?”
Answers can be provided on a 5-point scale: 0, i.e. not at all; around 10 hours; around 20 hours; around 30 hours; around 40 hours, i.e. full-time
“How many hours per week would you like your partner to work to earn money?”
Again, answers can be provided on a 5-point scale: 0, i.e. not at all; around 10 hours; around 20 hours; around 30 hours; around 40 hours, i.e. full-time

The second outcome question is worded as follows:
“Imagine you are 30 years old, you live together with your partner and you do not have children. What do you think, how many hours per week would you like to work to earn money?”
Answers again can be provided on a 5-point scale: 0, i.e. not at all; around 10 hours; around 20 hours; around 30 hours; around 40 hours, i.e. full-time
“How many hours per week would you like your partner to work to earn money?”
Again, answers can be provided on a 5-point scale: 0, i.e. not at all; around 10 hours; around 20 hours; around 30 hours; around 40 hours, i.e. full-time

Second, we will ask an outcome question on the preferences for job attributes which is worded as follows:
“Now, we will talk about the profession you would like to work in later. For the choice of the profession, several things could play a role. How important are the following things for your professional choice?
- The profession can be reconciled well with having children.
- The profession leaves me enough spare time.
- The profession offers good opportunities to work part-time.
- The profession allows to earn a high income.
- The profession offers good career possibilities.
- The profession offers a secure employment (no unemployment).
- The profession is fun.
- The profession is challenging for me.”
Answers can be provided on a 5-point scale: very important, quite important, quite unimportant, very unimportant. In this question, the order of the items is randomized at the individual level to balance sequence effects.
In that list, we are particularly interested in items related to work time, income and career considerations.



In the first experiment on the impact of social norms (according to which society expects parents of young children are expected to reduce their labor market supply) we will investigate all of the outcomes mentioned above. In addition, we run a resurvey about two weeks after the main survey in which we re-elicit the respondents’ (i) expected labour market supply, and (ii) preferences for certain job attributes. The resurvey will allow us to investigate persistence of treatment effects of the first experiment. In addition, we re-elicit beliefs about the social norm regarding labor supply reductions of parents.

The second experiment on the impact of social norms (according to which men should take as much responsibility for the home and children as women) will be exclusively conducted in the resurvey. Therefore, after re-eliciting the relevant outcome questions for the first experiment, respondents will be randomly assigned to the different experimental groups for the second experiment. After the treatment, we will again ask respondents for labor supply expectations with and without children. These expectations are the only outcomes examined in the second experiment.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
To better understand the emergence of the treatment effects and to investigate potential mediating channels of our treatments, we ask a range of further outcome questions: the adolescents’ (i) fertility expectations, (ii) educational aspirations, (iii) preferences for a partner, (iv) opinion towards the division of roles between mothers and fathers, (v) perceptions towards the attitudes of people in their immediate environment, (vi) incentivized second order beliefs for the attitudes of German adults towards additional gender statements (that are not explicitly addressed in the treatments), and (vii) decision to acquire information on how parents can manage to work as many hours when having young children as without children.

In addition, we plan to perform heterogeneity analyses with respect to gender and respondents’ prior beliefs.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
First, we will ask an outcome question on fertility expectations, which is worded as follows:
“Do you want to have children?”
Answers can be provided on a 5-point scale: No, in no case. No, rather not. Yes, rather. Yes, in any case. I don’t know yet.


Second, we will ask two outcome questions related to the adolescents’ educational aspirations.
The first question is worded as follows:
“And how important is it to you, that you finish your educational degree in the best possible way?”
Answers can be provided on a 4-point scale: Very important, rather important, rather unimportant, very unimportant

The second question is worded as follows:
“And regardless of which school you are in, or how good your grades are: What is your preferred educational degree?
Answers can be provided on a 2-point scale: Vocational training (apprenticeship), studies (e.g. at a university, or a university of applied sciences)

Third, we will ask two questions on the mating choice. The first question is on preferences for partner attributes, which is worded as follows:
“Now we will talk about what is important in a partner (e.g. spouse) for you. Different things can play a role when choosing a partner.
How important are the following attributes of a partner to you?
- My partner is attractive.
- My partner has a high income.
- My partner wants children.
- My partner takes over tasks in the household.
- My partner takes over tasks in child rearing.
- My partner has the same interests as I have.
- My partner supports me in my career.
- My partner gives me love and security.”
Answers can be provided on a 5-point scale: very important, quite important, quite unimportant, very unimportant. In addition, the order of the items is randomized at the individual level to avoid sequence effects.
In that list, we are particularly interested in items related to career and division of housework.

The second question is worded as follows:
“Do you want to have a partner (e.g. husband/wife)?”
Answers can be provided on a 5-point scale: No, in no case; No, rather not; Yes, rather.; Yes, in any case; I don’t know yet.

Fourth, we will ask two outcome questions related the adolescents’ opinion towards the division of roles between mothers and fathers:
The first outcome question is worded as follows:
“To what extent do you agree with the following statements?
- The society demands that mothers should reduce their labour market participation to care about their children.
- The society demands that fathers should reduce their labour market participation to care about their children.
- Mothers and fathers qualify equally well for caring about their children.
- It is better for the family income if mothers care about the children and fathers go to work.
- I hold the opinion, that mothers whose children are aged between 1 and 6 years, should reduce their labour market participation.
- I hold the opinion, that fathers whose children are aged between 1 and 6 years, should reduce their labour market participation.”
Answers can be provided on a 5-point scale: strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, strongly disagree.

The second outcome question is worded as follows:
“Imagine a family has to decide which parent works and which parent does not work and takes care about the children instead:
In that case, to what extent do you agree with the following statements?
- It is better for young children if mothers take care about the children and fathers work.
- It is better for young children if fathers take care about the children and mothers work.
- It is better for family income if mothers take care about the children and fathers work.
- It is better for family income if fathers take care about the children and mothers work.
Answers can be provided on a 5-point scale: strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, strongly disagree.

Fifth, we will ask one question on the adolescents’ perceptions towards the attitudes of people in their immediate environment which is worded as follows:
“What do you think, which opinions do the following groups hold about the labor market participation of mothers and fathers, respectively?
- My parents hold the that mothers whose children are aged between 1 and 6 years, should reduce their labour market participation.
- My parents hold the that fathers whose children are aged between 1 and 6 years, should reduce their labour market participation
- My friends hold the that mothers whose children are aged between 1 and 6 years, should reduce their labour market participation.
- My friends hold the that fathers whose children are aged between 1 and 6 years, should reduce their labour market participation
- My future partner holds the that mothers whose children are aged between 1 and 6 years, should reduce their labour market participation.
- My future partner holds the that fathers whose children are aged between 1 and 6 years, should reduce their labour market participation”
Answers can be provided on a 5-point scale: does/do hold the opinion in any case; does/do rather hold the opinion; does/do rather not hold the opinion; does/do not hold the opinion in any case; neither nor

Sixth, we will elicit adolescents’ beliefs about other gender-related norms:
“What do you think, how many adults in Germany agree to the following statements?
Now think of 100 adults in Germany and state what you believe how many adults hold his opinion (‘0’ means ‘nobody’ and ‘100’ means ‘everybody’; with the numbers in between, you can adjust your answer).
___ of 100 adults in Germany hold the opinion that, a university education is more important for a boy than for a girl.
___ of 100 adults in Germany hold the opinion that a the children suffer when a mother works for pay.
___ of 100 adults in Germany hold the opinion that being a housewife is just as fulfilling as working for pay.
___ of 100 adults in Germany hold the opinion that it is certain to cause problems if a women earns more money than her husband.“
In that question, all respondents are offered a monetary reward if their answer is correct.



Seventh, we will investigate whether respondents decide to acquire information on how parents can manage to work as many hours when having young children as without children. The related question is worded as follows:
“There are different opportunities how parents with young children can manage to work as many hours as parents without children. Do you want to have information about how to work as many hours with young children as without children? If you indicate yes, there will be displayed a link at the end of the survey.”
Respondents can either answer “yes” or “no”. If respondents answer “yes”, they will receive a link to the national employment center, which informs about corresponding opportunities at the end of the questionnaire.
The direction of possible treatment effects on this item are ex-ante unclear: On the one hand, information on social norms might reduce adolescents’ intended labor supply and hence reduce their demand for information on how to combine labor market employment with child-rearing. On the other hand, this information might highlight potential conflicts between child-rearing and employment that respondents were previously unaware of and hence increase their demand for information. The extent to which channel dominates the other is the empirical question that we aim to answer with this item.

We will investigate the secondary outcomes only for the first experiment. In addition, the questions on the adolescents’ opinion towards the division of roles between mothers and fathers, their perceptions towards the attitudes of people in their immediate environment as well as the questions on their preferences for children, partners, and education will be asked in the resurvey, which will allow us to investigate the persistence of treatment effects.
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We conduct the survey experiment in a sample of 2,000 adolescents between the age of 14 and 17 years. The survey is conducted in cooperation with a German survey institute, konkret mafo. The recruitment of the adolescents is managed by konkret mafo, which collects the data via an online platform. That is, our participants answer the survey questions autonomously on their own digital devices. Randomization is carried out by konkret mafo at the individual level, using a computer.

Our first experiment is structured as follows: Respondents will be randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups (p=0.25 each) or the control group (p=0.25)

Sequence of events in the treatment groups:
1. Belief elicitation about social norm according to which parents of young children are expected to reduce their labor market supply (treatment groups 1 and 3)
2. Information provision (treatment groups 2 and 3)
3. Elicitation of expected labour market supply (Primary outcome)
4. Elicitation of preferences for certain job attributes (Primary outcome)
5. Information acquisition decision on how to work as many hours with young children as without children (Secondary outcome)
6. Elicitation of opinion towards the division of roles between mothers and fathers (Secondary outcome)
7. Elicitation of perceptions towards the attitudes of people in their immediate environment (Secondary outcome)
8. Elicitation of preferences for partner attributes (first part) (Secondary outcome)
9. Incentivized elicitation of beliefs about different social gender norms (Secondary outcome)
10. Elicitation of educational aspirations (Secondary outcome)
11. Elicitation of fertility decisions (Secondary outcome)
12. Elicitation of references for partner attributes (second part) (Secondary outcome)

Sequence of events in the control group:
1. Elicitation of expected labour market supply (Primary outcome)
2. Elicitation of preferences for certain job attributes (Primary outcome)
3. Information acquisition decision on how to work as many hours with young children as without children (Secondary outcome)
4. Elicitation of opinion towards the division of roles between mothers and fathers (Secondary outcome)
5. Elicitation of perceptions towards the attitudes of people in their immediate environment (Secondary outcome)
6. Elicitation of preferences for partner attributes (first part) (Secondary outcome)
7. Incentivized elicitation of beliefs about different social gender norms (Secondary outcome)
8. Elicitation of educational aspirations (Secondary outcome)
9. Elicitation of fertility decisions (Secondary outcome)
10. Elicitation of references for partner attributes (second part) (Secondary outcome)

Our second experiment will be conducted within a resurvey about two weeks after the main survey. Resurvey respondents will be randomly assigned to the first treatment group (p=0.25), the second treatment group (p=0.25) or the control group (p=0.5)

Sequence of events in the treatment groups:
1. Belief elicitation about social norm according to which men should take as much responsibility for the home and children as women (treatment group 1)
2. Information provision (treatment groups 1 and 2)
3. Elicitation of expected labour market supply (Primary outcome)

Sequence of events in the control group
1. Elicitation of expected labour market supply (Primary outcome)
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization is carried out by the survey company konkret mafo, using a computer.
Randomization Unit
at the individual level
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
2,000 adolescents
Sample size: planned number of observations
2,000 adolescents
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
First experiment: 2,000 adolescents in the age between 14 and 17 years, 500 of which are in the first treatment group, 500 in the second treatment group, 500 in the third treatment group and control group

Second experiment: We expect to reach roughly 1,400 adolescents from the first survey to participate in the resurvey, 350 of which are in the first treatment group, 350 in the second treatment group, and 700 in the control group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Ethics Committee of the University of Munich (LMU)
IRB Approval Date
2019-10-11
IRB Approval Number
2019-15