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Understanding and Shifting Social Norms of Female Labor Force Participation in Saudi Arabia: Additional Experiment
Initial registration date
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January 18, 2020 7:38 PM EST
University of Chicago
Other Primary Investigator(s)
University of Chicago
University of Zurich
Additional Trial Information
Female labor force participation (henceforth FLPF) is very low in Saudi Arabia and social norms appear to be a constraint to female employment in the country. In the first round of our experiment, we surveyed groups of Saudi Arabian men and found that most men privately support female labor force participation while believing that others hold much more conservative views. At the end of the survey, participants were given a choice between a $5 Amazon gift card and the opportunity to sign-up their wife for an online job matching service. An information treatment showing randomly selected participants the distribution of true beliefs increased the likelihood that participants chose the job matching service sign-up, suggesting that correcting individual beliefs about others may be an effective way to encourage female labor force participation. The additional experiment aims to further examine the impacts of the information treatment on females’ labor supply decisions and their choices to work from or outside the home, when wives are directly given the information instead of the husbands.
Bursztyn, Leonardo, Alessandra González and David Yanagizawa-Drott. 2020. "Understanding and Shifting Social Norms of Female Labor Force Participation in Saudi Arabia: Additional Experiment." AEA RCT Registry. January 18.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our primary outcome of interest is women’s decision to work on a given temporary job from/outside the home. Our local survey partner will first recruit women for a temporary (one-day) enumerator job. In a follow-up call, the company will give potential enumerators the choice between the at-home position or the more profitable, outside-the-home position. The first outcome is, conditional on accepting the job, whether they choose the outside-the-home position.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
As a secondary outcome, we will get administrative data from the partner company on whether or not the subject ends up showing up to the perform the job.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
We have teamed up with a large Saudi survey company based in Jeddah. This company has independently collected a database of women interested in working as a surveyor. The company has agreed to embed an experiment in their efforts to recruit enumerators for a survey we are hiring them for.
The company will make a first call to women in their database (across three cities, Jeddah, Riyadh, and Dammam) following a script we provided them to have harmonized demographic information about the women in their database, and to confirm their interest in an opportunity for a temporary (one-day) enumerator job. The pay rate is 25 Saudi Riyals per hour (or 200 Saudi Riyals per day), the standard one for this type of work.
Our experimental intervention will occur during a second call. The company is aiming to call a sample of women who confirmed their interest in the first call. The exact number will depend on the firm’s ability to recruit, and is expected to be between 200 and 400. In the second call, the company will offer a concrete one-day job opportunity as a survey enumerator. Potential enumerators will be offered the choice between:
i) performing the job from home at the previously agreed upon pay rate of 200 Saudi Riyals per day;
ii) performing the same enumerator job (for the same survey), but conducting face-to-face interviews in shopping malls. This second option offers a pay that is 20% higher, 250 Saudi Riyals per day, and on top of that, the company will pay for transportation costs.
The second option is more profitable (under reasonable assumptions regarding the opportunity cost of time for commuting to malls), but it involves working outside of home, which is potentially stigmatized. Note that subjects are told that they will interview men in both cases. Our randomization of interest will be at the individual level, right before potential enumerators are offered the choice just described.
Half of the subjects (Control group), will be read the following passage:
“Before I describe the position I would like to tell you that our company supports Vision 2030, which encourages women to participate in the Saudi labor force.”
The other half of the subjects (Information group), will be read the following passage:
“Before I describe the position I would like to tell you that our company supports Vision 2030, which encourages women to participate in the Saudi labor force. We would like to share some information about a recent study that may be of interest to you. In a recent survey of a national sample of about 1,500 married Saudi men aged 18-35, 82% agreed with the statement "In my opinion, women should be allowed to work outside of the home." This means that the vast majority of young married Saudi men support women working outside of the home.”
The two groups get information that makes clear the stance of the company with respect to female labor force participation in Saudi Arabia. However, the second group gets additional information – they learn that the vast majority of young married Saudi men support working outside the home. We will therefore use the information generated by our own national survey conducted previously.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization will be performed at the individual level (among survey participants) using three trailing digits of their phone number. Using data software, we will randomly assign treatment or control conditions to all numbers between 000 and 999 and implement this randomized "key" in our survey software, Qualtrics.
Was the treatment clustered?
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
The company aims to call 200-400 women who initially confirm their interest in the position.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Half of the subjects will be in the information treatment group (shown information about males’ level of support for females working outside of home); half of them will be in the control group (given no information about males’ opinions)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
University of Chicago SBS IRB
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post Trial Information
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?