Worker Beliefs and the Job Application Decision: A Lab-in-the-Field Experiment on Gender and Sorting
Last registered on February 27, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Worker Beliefs and the Job Application Decision: A Lab-in-the-Field Experiment on Gender and Sorting
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0005472
Initial registration date
February 18, 2020
Last updated
February 27, 2020 10:58 AM EST
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Vanderbilt University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2020-02-17
End date
2020-05-15
Secondary IDs
Abstract
One of the largest measured factors contributing to the gender wage gap is sorting across occupations and industries (Blau & Kahn, 2017). This sorting behavior may be driven by workers' second-order beliefs--- beliefs about other people's beliefs--- through
the job application decision. To determine whether second-order beliefs are an important mechanism underlying this type of sorting by gender behavior through the job application decision, I combine a natural field experiment with a structured online lab experiment. In the field experiment, I solicit applications for a real high-paying white-collar job using ads that vary the relevant second-order beliefs. This variation is along two dimensions: the gender of the hiring manager and the gender associations of the product sector. After
interested candidates make their job application decision, I invite them to an online lab experiment that elicits their second-order beliefs using a methodology established in Dustan, Koutout, & Leo (2020). This measurement of beliefs in the same population as the job application decision allows me to present the first evidence on whether second-order beliefs affect labor market behavior.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Koutout, Kristine. 2020. "Worker Beliefs and the Job Application Decision: A Lab-in-the-Field Experiment on Gender and Sorting." AEA RCT Registry. February 27. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5472-2.0.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The intervention treats candidates interested in sales positions with a job ad, in which the manager gender and the product sector are varied in order to vary the relevant second-order belief.
Intervention Start Date
2020-02-18
Intervention End Date
2020-04-20
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Job Application Decision
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Candidates have the opportunity to apply to one of two jobs. The outcome is whether they apply and which job they apply to.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
I combine a natural field experiment with a structured online lab experiment to study whether workers' second-order beliefs affect their job application decision. In the field experiment, I solicit applications for a job using ads that vary the relevant second-order belief. Then, I invite participants in the field experiment to an online lab experiment that elicits their second-order beliefs using the methodology developed by my co-authors and I in Dustan, Koutout, and Leo (2020).
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
I assign the candidate a treatment cell based the order in which I receive their application. In other words, if I receive the contact information of 50 candidates one day, the first is assigned treatment 1, second treatment 2, etc. A treatment cell is comprised of the city (1 of 7), gender (m,f,unknown), and assigned treatment to ensure balance across treatments.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
At least 2,200 individuals are expected to participate in the field experiment and treatment is assigned at the individual level.
Sample size: planned number of observations
At least 2,200 individuals.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Approximately 550 individuals per treatment.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Using the standard deviation calculated from the probability of applying in the pilot (0.22), this sample size can detect a 3% difference in application rates.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Vanderbilt University Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
2020-02-12
IRB Approval Number
190711
Analysis Plan

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