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Stigma and Recruitment for Labor Market Assistance Programs
Last registered on July 13, 2020


Trial Information
General Information
Stigma and Recruitment for Labor Market Assistance Programs
Initial registration date
July 08, 2020
Last updated
July 13, 2020 3:54 PM EDT
Primary Investigator
University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Memphis
Additional Trial Information
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Aversion to “stigma” may contribute to low utilization of social programs, but empirical evidence of its importance is scarce. We use three randomized experiments focused on delivering labor market support to young people to test whether stigma can affect real life decisions. The first experiment recruits to a job training program using street-level marketing. The second experiment recruits unemployed youth to the same program via Facebook advertising.The third recruits for a job fair using door-to-door outreach. We randomize the recruitment message used and consider the information's effect on application and attendance rates, as well as selection on those who apply/attend.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Osman, Adam and Jamin Speer. 2020. "Stigma and Recruitment for Labor Market Assistance Programs." AEA RCT Registry. July 13. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6131-1.0.
Experimental Details
Our interventions are information messages used to recruit people to participate in labor market support programs. In the first two experiments we give people in the control group information about the program and in the treatment arms we provide additional information from prior graduates about how the program was helpful to them. In the third experiment we give people in the control information about an upcoming job fair and in one treatment arm we recognize the stigma associated with some of the jobs, and in a a second treatment are we try to dispel it.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Application Rates to Job Training, Attendance rate to the Job Fair
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Our first experiment used in-person, street-level marketing in different areas of Cairo. Young adults were approached on the street by a surveyor and asked if they were interested in hearing about a training program being offered for youth interested in finding jobs. If they answered yes, basic eligibility information was collected. If the person was eligible for the training program (as defined by the NGO), more information was collected and they received a randomized recruitment pitch from the surveyor. We gave pitches aimed at professional, personal and social stigma. Individuals in the control arm were given information about the program's purpose, location, timing, etc. They were also provided information about the income of individuals who graduated 1 year and 5 years ago. Those in the stigma treatment groups got the same information plus text that was almost identical to experiment 1

Experiment 2 was run on Facebook in late 2018. We tested three main ads. The control ad simply informed people about the training program, including the content, length, and format. We then adjusted the control ad to include additional information about ``social stigma'' and ``professional stigma''. In both cases, we collected testimonials from previous graduates of the training program that described how the types of stigma we thought people would be worried about were in fact not as important as the potential job-seekers may have thought.

In Experiment 3, we implemented a door-to-door information campaign in December 2019 that aimed to encourage people to attend a upcoming free job fair. The process was similar to the street-level recruitment in Experiment 1. Surveyors would go from apartment to apartment, asking if there was anyone in the household who was looking for a job. If yes, they would check to see if that individual was in the same age range as the training (18 to 35). They would then collect some basic demographic information and read a randomized informational message about the job fair.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization for the Facebook experiment was done by the facebook algorithm. Randomization for the other two experiments was done on a tablet in real time.
Randomization Unit
Experiment 1 and 2 were randomized at the individual level, experiment 3 was randomized at the building level.
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
1000 buildings
Sample size: planned number of observations
767768 people on Facebook, 2900 for training and 1170 for job fairs
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Experiment 1: 747 control, 717 personal stigma, 723 professional stigma, 713 social stigma
Experiment 2: 242789 control, 266050 professional stigma, 258929 social stigma
Experiment 3: 404 control, 396 salient stigma, 370 dispelling stigma
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
University of Memphis
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Name
University of Illinois
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)