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The role of relative earnings for gender norms on parental labor supply
Initial registration date
June 03, 2020
June 03, 2020 10:17 AM EDT
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Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Even in developed countries, there are large differences in gender norms regarding the labor market participation of mothers and fathers. In this project, we investigate how norms on primary caregiving depend on pre-birth labor market incomes of mothers and fathers. To that end, we implement an online-survey experiment among a representative sample of adults aged 18 to 69 years in Germany. All respondents are presented with a vignette describing the situation of a couple expecting their first child, in which they learn that after the child’s birth one parent will stay at home to take care of the child whereas the other parent will work for pay full-time. One group of respondents receives no further information. Three experimental groups receive additional information about pre-birth labor market incomes of both parents. In a fifth group, we additionally ask respondents to assume that for the first 8 weeks after birth both the father and the mother will stay at home. All respondents are then asked whether the young mother or the young father should stay at home to take care about the child while the other parent works full-time.
Grewenig, Elisabeth, Philipp Lergetporer and Katharina Werner. 2020. "The role of relative earnings for gender norms on parental labor supply." AEA RCT Registry. June 03.
All respondents are presented with a vignette of expecting parents in which they learn that the after the child’s birth one parent will stay at home to take care of the child whereas the other parent will work for pay. Depending on the treatment, respondents learn in the vignette that (i) the women’s pre-birth income amounts to 1400€ whereas the man earns 1800€ net per month, (ii) the man’s pre-birth income amounts to 1400€ whereas the woman earns 1800€ net per month, (iii) both earn 1600€ net per month prior to birth or (iv) that during the maternity protection (up to 8 weeks after birth) both parents will stay at home and afterwards one will work full-time whereas the other will stay at home. All respondents are then asked to state whether the mother should not work while the father works full-time or whether the father should not work while the mother works full-time.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our primary outcomes of interest are respondents’ beliefs about whether the mother should not work while the father works full-time or whether the father not work while the mother works full-time.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
After being provided with the vignette respondents answer the following question (translation from German):
What do you think, how should Sabine and Peter organize the first year of their child after the maternity protection? Choose one of the two options.
- Sabine should not work and Peter should work-fulltime.
- Peter should not work and Sabine should work full-time
[Answer categories will be randomized]
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Heterogeneities by gender
Heterogeneities by the “tightness” of gender norms across regions Heterogeneities by respondents’ labor market behavior
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
We are interested in analyzing heterogeneities by respondents’ gender.
Within our questionnaire, we additionally elicit respondents’ first and second order beliefs about several gender norm statements typically asked in other social surveys (e.g. World Value Survey, European Value Study, German General Social Survey…). Using responses to these questions, we aim to construct regional measures of “gender norm tightness”. We will use these measures to analyse (effect) heterogeneities across the regions that our respondents live in. Moreover, we posit a number of questions about respondents’ current labor market supply and - if applicable - their labor market supply (self and other parent) during the first years after the birth of their oldest child. We will use answers to these questions to analyze further heterogeneities.
We conduct the experiment in a sample of 10,000 adults aged between 18 and 69 years. The survey is conducted in cooperation with respondi. The recruitment and polling is managed by respondi, who collect 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 respondi at the individual level, using a computer.
Our experiment is structured as follows:
Respondents receive a vignette according to the experimental group they are assigned to. Afterwards, all respondents are asked about their beliefs whether the mother should not work while the father works full-time or whether the father not work while the mother works full-time.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization is carried out by the survey company respondi, using a computer.
at the individual level
Was the treatment clustered?
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
10,000 adults aged 18 – 69 years
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
10,000 adults aged 18 – 69 years, approx. 2,000 will be assigned to each of the treatment groups.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)