Gender Discrimination elicited in the general population of the United States.

Last registered on August 19, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Gender Discrimination elicited in the general population of the United States.
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0006025
Initial registration date
June 20, 2020

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
June 23, 2020, 11:11 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
August 19, 2021, 4:20 AM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.

Locations

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
FAIR - NHH

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
SOFI - Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University
PI Affiliation
World Bank, Governance Global Practice
PI Affiliation
IIES - Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University
PI Affiliation
IIES - Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2020-06-22
End date
2022-01-31
Secondary IDs
Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien, KVA (SO2018-0034); Handelsbanken's Research Foundations (P2017-0243:1) Stiftelsen Lars Hiertas Minne (FO2015-0725), The Swedish Research Council 2015-02112, The Norwegian Research Council, FRIHUMSAM, Young Research Talent, project no 250415, The Swedish Research Council, General Research Project, Diary no 2015-02112
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
We study gender discrimination in hiring decisions in a representative sample from the United States. Participants are incentivized to choose between two candidates, one male, one female, to write an advertizing slogan for a product. They see information about the candidates, as well a sample of past work (a slogan for another product). Past work was either performed alone or in a team. Our first study will examine how discrimination varies between individual and teamwork settings, varying team composition, gender stereotypes attached to the products, and two policies aimed at reducing discrimination. Our second study will examine discrimination in the aggregate and how it varies with exposure to shocks during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Sandberg, Anna et al. 2021. "Gender Discrimination elicited in the general population of the United States.." AEA RCT Registry. August 19. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6025
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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Employers are shown information about two candidates (one female and one male) and asked to indicate which candidate they want to hire to come up with an advertisement slogan individually. The information includes the candidate’s fictional name, education level, work experience, and the slogan they produced (either individually or in a team). The gender of the candidate, and, in case of a team work evaluation, their co-worker's gender, is conveyed through virtual names and an avatar showing a silhouette of a man or a woman. Education is measured in three categories: “High School or less”, “Some College education”, and “College degree or more”. Experience is also measured in three categories: “Up to 1 year”, “1 to 3 years” and “3 years or more”. We tell the participants that we do not use workers’ real name.

We randomize:

1. Whether the slogan is produced individually or in a team. (Individual vs. Team treatment)

2. The gender of the co-workers of the candidates in the “Team work” treatment. In particular, we vary whether the employer chooses between (i) a male candidate with a female co-worker and a female candidate with a male co-worker, (ii) a male candidate with a male co-worker and a female candidate with a female co-worker, (iii) a male candidate with a male co-worker and a female candidate with a male co worker, and (iv) a male candidate with a female co-worker and a female candidate with a female co-worker.

3. Which information/instructions the employer observes (a “Baseline”-, a “Hidden gender”-, and a “Cognition” treatment). In the “Hidden gender” treatment, all information about the gender of the candidates (and, under the “Team work” treatment, their co-workers) is removed from the resume. In the “Cognition” treatment, before making their hiring decision participants are forced to reflect on the productivity weight they give to the candidate they hire and as well as their co-worker.

4. Whether the products are stereotypically male or stereotypically female.

To reduce the total number of treatments, and increase statistical power, the ``Hidden gender''- and ``Cognition'' treatments are only implemented under the ``Team work'' treatment for stereotypically male products. Further, all four combinations of candidate/co-worker gender are only implemented under the ``Baseline'' treatment for stereotypically male products.
Intervention Start Date
2020-06-22
Intervention End Date
2021-01-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Employers' hiring decision of candidates.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
All primary outcomes can be observed directly from the data.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
No secondary outcomes considered at this time.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
No secondary outcomes considered at this time.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We conduct an experiment structured in three stages, a Work stage, an Evaluation stage and an Employer stage. For the first stage, we use Amazon's Mechanical Turk to recruit participants. The other stages are conducted in collaboration with the Gallup Panel, a representative sample of U.S. adults. The stages contain the following procedures:

Work stage - Task 1: Workers work individually and propose a slogan for an advertising campaign for a product.

Work stage - Task 2: Workers work individually or in teams (depending on treatment) and propose a slogan for an advertising campaign for a different product.

Evaluation stage: Evaluators evaluate the quality of the slogans proposed during Task 1 and Task 2 of the Work stage.

Payment of workers: Workers from the Work stage are paid according to the evaluations received by their proposed slogans in the Evaluation stage.

Employment stage - Hiring decision: Employers choose whom to hire from a set of two candidates, observing the slogan produced during Task 2 of the Work stage.

Payment of employers: Employers are paid according to the evaluations (from the Evaluation stage) of the slogan proposed during Task 1 by the person they hire.

Survey: Participants reveal whether they have experienced any negative labor market shocks during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Disclaimer: We will submit the pre-analysis plan in the next version of the trial registry and before we receive data from the survey provider.
Experimental Design Details
Employment stage

In this stage, workers recruited on MTurk are instructed to come up with slogans for two advertisement campaigns. To generate the first slogan (Task 1), all workers work individually. To generate the second slogan (Task 2), workers are randomized to work either individually (the “Individual work” treatment) or in teams of two (the “Team work” treatment, in which workers can communicate through a chat window). Workers are randomized across four different product pairs:

1. Task 1: Sports motorcycle, Task 2: Drill
2. Task 1: Truck, Task 2: Package of sports TV channels
3. Task 1: Diet shake, Task 2: Shampoo
4. Task 1: Sewing machine, Task 2: Sun screen for kids

The first two product pairs represent stereotypically male products, while the last two represent stereotypically female products. These products were selected based on a pilot study conducted on MTurk in fall 2018.1

The tasks are incentivized: In addition to the show-up fee of $2, workers earn a bonus if their slogan receives a high evaluation from a set of independent evaluators. For each product, workers receive a bonus of $1 if their slogan is ranked, on average, in the top third by the evaluators.

Under the “Team work” treatment, the two workers in the same team can communicate through a chat window. The team members are only eligible for the bonus if they agree on one slogan.2 Thus, while we allow workers to not reach an agreement on the slogan to propose, we provide incentives for the team to produce a joint output.

Evaluation stage

Evaluators are recruited on MTurk and instructed to evaluate slogans according to their perceived quality. We show evaluators groups of 9 slogans, and we ask them first to rank the slogans and then to assign to each slogan a quality score between 0 and 10.4 The groups of 9 slogans are formed randomly, grouping together slogans for the same product from both working conditions (“Individual work” or “Team work”).

Each evaluator is shown one group of slogans from each of four randomly chosen and randomly ordered products. The task is not incentivized, but we stress that the compensation of the MTurk participants in the Work stage is linked to this evaluation. We reward evaluators with a $2 show-up fee. When eliciting quality scores, we include in the instructions: "If you judge a slogan to be unusable (e.g. it is blank, unrelated to the product, or poor English) please give it a score of 0." We then use these “zero scores” to screen out unusable slogans, analogous to a very basic pre-screening of job applications.

Employment stage

Employers are shown information about two candidates (one female and one male) and asked to indicate which candidate they want to hire to come up with a slogan individually. The information includes the candidate’s fictional name, education level, work experience, and the slogan they produced (either individually or in a team) for Task 2 of the Work stage. The gender of the candidate (and, in the “Team work” treatment, their co-worker) is conveyed through virtual names (see below) and an avatar showing a silhouette of a man or a woman. We tell the participants that we do not use workers’ real name (see details about the names below). Education is displayed in three categories: “High School or less”, “Some College education”, and “College degree or more”. Experience is also shown in three categories: “Up to 1 year”, “1 to 3 years” and “3 years or more”. Since we do not mention gender explicitly, and, since we show information about education and work experience, we do not believe that gender is too salient for the employers when evaluating candidates.

Employers are shown information about two candidates (one female and one male) and asked to indicate which candidate they want to hire to come up with an advertisement slogan individually. The information includes the candidate’s fictional name, education level, work experience, and the slogan they produced (either individually or in a team). The gender of the candidate, and, in case of a team work evaluation, their co-worker's gender, is conveyed through virtual names and an avatar showing a silhouette of a man or a woman. Education is measured in three categories: “High School or less”, “Some College education”, and “College degree or more”. Experience is also measured in three categories: “Up to 1 year”, “1 to 3 years” and “3 years or more”. We tell the participants that we do not use workers’ real name.

We randomize:

1. Whether the slogan is produced individually or in a team. (Individual vs. Team treatment)

2. The gender of the co-workers of the candidates in the “Team work” treatment. In particular, we vary whether the employer chooses between (i) a male candidate with a female co-worker and a female candidate with a male co-worker, (ii) a male candidate with a male co-worker and a female candidate with a female co-worker, (iii) a male candidate with a male co-worker and a female candidate with a male co worker, and (iv) a male candidate with a female co-worker and a female candidate with a female co-worker.

3. Which information/instructions the employer observes (a “Baseline”-, a “Hidden gender”-, and a “Cognition” treatment). In the “Hidden gender” treatment, all information about the gender of the candidates (and, under the “Team work” treatment, their co-workers) is removed from the resume. In the “Cognition” treatment, before making their hiring decision participants are forced to reflect on the productivity weight they give to the candidate they hire and as well as their co-worker.

4. Whether the products are stereotypically male or stereotypically female.

To reduce the total number of treatments, and increase statistical power, the ``Hidden gender''- and ``Cognition'' treatments are only implemented under the ``Team work'' treatment for stereotypically male products. Further, all four combinations of candidate/co-worker gender are only implemented under the ``Baseline'' treatment for stereotypically male products.
Randomization Method
Pseudorandom number generator managed by Gallup.
Randomization Unit
All randomization happens at the individual level.
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
We sample units at the individual level.
Sample size: planned number of observations
In total we target 4,450 employers.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
• 400 per product pair for individual work
• 400 per product pair for mixed teams
• 125 per male stereotypical product pair for mixed- vs same-gender teams
• 125 per male stereotypical product pair for same-gender vs same-gender teams
• 125 per male stereotypical product pair to be used in the hidden gender policy treatment
• 125 per male stereotypical product pair to be used in the cognition policy treatment
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
Gallup Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
2020-04-01
IRB Approval Number
N/A
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents

ANALYSIS PLAN

MD5: e35aee23927841732fe71d56c2ed8031

SHA1: 56c5a506e683fd2d7e95ac0bc6fc3b996faf5522

Uploaded At: June 26, 2020

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials