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Fighting teacher sorting with behavioral interventions
Last registered on November 15, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Fighting teacher sorting with behavioral interventions
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0005036
Initial registration date
November 14, 2019
Last updated
November 15, 2019 10:09 AM EST
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Sao Paulo School of Economics - FGV
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Inter-American Development Bank
PI Affiliation
Inter-American Development Bank
PI Affiliation
Inter-American Development Bank
PI Affiliation
Inter-American Development Bank
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2019-11-20
End date
2020-03-20
Secondary IDs
Abstract
In this paper, we implement behavioral interventions to reduce teacher sorting (e.g., good teachers choosing the best schools). We test, in the context of teachers' school choice, the effect of two behavioral theories/effects well-established in the literature of psychology: the name-order effect and cognitive dissonance. In a large-scale countrywide intervention put in place in Ecuador we use the online platform that teachers use to select the schools to which they would like to apply to teach to implement two low-cost experiments. In the first arm, we prime altruism by asking if they would like to work in a school in which they think they could have a bigger social impact. We then label those schools and let them choose. A positive response to the treatment question would be inconsistent with choosing a less-impactful school. In a second arm, we order the schools to show first the schools in which they could have a bigger social impact to test a name-order effect on their choices. Our main outcome is the likelihood of choosing disadvantaged schools.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Ajzenman, Nicolas et al. 2019. "Fighting teacher sorting with behavioral interventions." AEA RCT Registry. November 15. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5036-1.0.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The RCT will be conducted through an online platform that teachers use countrywide to apply for teaching vacancies. Teachers can apply for up to 5 teaching vacancies within their specialty and must rank these vacancies according to their preference. The treatment arms are designed to encourage teachers to apply for jobs at disadvantaged schools. To determine schools as “disadvantaged”, it was created an index that combined information about a) student performance, b) student socioeconomic background, c) proxies indicating whether schools are hard-to-staff and/or have shortage of teachers.

The RCT has three arms:

1. Control
• Teachers see the list of vacancies available with an icon indicating whether the vacancy is from a disadvantaged school. The list of vacancies is organized in random order.
• Teachers also see an explanation of the icon that says: “Schools that need committed teachers like you and where your ability to generate social impact is greater.”

2. Treatment 1
• Teachers see the list of vacancies available with an icon indicating whether the vacancy is from a disadvantaged school. The list of vacancies is organized in random order.
• Teachers also see an explanation of the icon that says: “Schools that need committed teachers like you and where your ability to generate social impact is greater.”
• Before teachers see the list of vacancies, they are prompted with the following text and question: "Some schools need more committed teachers. In these schools, your work could generate greater social change. Would you be interested in working in these schools where you could have more social impact?"

3. Treatment 2
• Teachers see the list of vacancies available with an icon indicating whether the vacancy is from a disadvantaged school. The list of vacancies is organized in a way so that disadvantaged schools are placed first.
• Teachers also see an explanation of the icon that says: “Schools that need committed teachers like you and where your ability to generate social impact is greater.”
Intervention Start Date
2019-11-20
Intervention End Date
2020-03-01
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our primary outcomes are related to school choice:

1) The number of "high impact"/"disadvantaged" schools in the school choice set.
2) The proportion of "high impact"/"disadvantaged" schools in the school choice set.
3) A dummy indicating if there is at least one "high impact"/"disadvantaged" school in the first N choices.
4) A dummy indicating if the teacher was allocated to a "high impact"/"disadvantaged" school.
5) The average quality of teachers (as measured by the grade in the teachers' evaluation) allocated to "high impact"/"disadvantaged" schools per group.
6) The average quality of teachers (as measured by the grade in the teachers' evaluation) that included a "high impact"/"disadvantaged" school in their choice set per group.

We may also include similar outcomes related to choice. We are also planning to implement an ex-post survey to measure preferences and beliefs, but this is still not confirmed. In the same survey, we plan to measure some traits that could help us understand potential mechanisms (for instance, altruism).

We plan to conduct heterogeneity analysis by gender, age, etc. We would expect our treatment to be more effective among more altruistic people, among people that are more willing to travel farther away.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The RCT will be conducted through an online platform that teachers use countrywide to apply for teaching vacancies. Teachers can apply for up to 5 teaching vacancies within their specialty and must rank these vacancies according to their preference. The treatment arms are designed to encourage teachers to apply for jobs at disadvantaged schools. To determine schools as “disadvantaged”, it was created an index that combined information about a) student performance, b) student socioeconomic background, c) proxies indicating whether schools are hard-to-staff and/or have shortage of teachers.

The RCT has three arms:

1. Control
• Teachers see the list of vacancies available with an icon indicating whether the vacancy is from a disadvantaged school. The list of vacancies is organized in random order.
• Teachers also see an explanation of the icon that says: “Schools that need committed teachers like you and where your ability to generate social impact is greater.”

2. Treatment 1
• Teachers see the list of vacancies available with an icon indicating whether the vacancy is from a disadvantaged school. The list of vacancies is organized in random order.
• Teachers also see an explanation of the icon that says: “Schools that need committed teachers like you and where your ability to generate social impact is greater.”
• Before teachers see the list of vacancies, they are prompted with the following text and question: "Some schools need more committed teachers. In these schools, your work could generate greater social change. Would you be interested in working in these schools where you could have more social impact?"

3. Treatment 2
• Teachers see the list of vacancies available with an icon indicating whether the vacancy is from a disadvantaged school. The list of vacancies is organized in a way so that disadvantaged schools are placed first.
• Teachers also see an explanation of the icon that says: “Schools that need committed teachers like you and where your ability to generate social impact is greater.”
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
The Ministry shared an anonymized dataset with the research team including all the teachers that passed the test to become teachers and apply for a job. We stratified the samples by "Cantons" (second-level administrative units, there are 221 in the country). Within each Canton, we assigned a number 0,1 or 2 (control, treatment 1 or treatment 2) consecutively. We then tested balance among groups using observable characteristics (gender, teaching test scores, age, ethnicity).
Randomization Unit
The randomization unit is the individual (teachers). There are no clusters.
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
25,000 teachers (no clusters)
Sample size: planned number of observations
25,000 teachers in total
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Our same size is of 25,000 teachers for Control and Two treatment arms.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
We used "% of teachers that selected disadvantaged schools (at least 1)" as the main outcome for power calculation. Assuming 20% of teachers in the control would select these schools (based on conversations with the government), we need 12,606 teachers per arm to detect an effect of 2.5pp (1 arm). We have two arms and approximately 25,000 observations.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number