The impact of descriptive social norms on parental leave take-up among fathers

Last registered on November 03, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
The impact of descriptive social norms on parental leave take-up among fathers
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0006692
Initial registration date
November 03, 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
November 03, 2020, 7:19 AM EST

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

Locations

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Linnaeus University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Linnaeus University
PI Affiliation
Linnaeus University

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2020-11-04
End date
2020-12-11
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Across the world mothers take the majority and fathers only a small share of parental leave after individuals become parents. Especially during the first year of a child, mothers spend more time with the child, while fathers continue to work. It is well-documented that this creates gender inequalities in the labor market and affects children’s outcomes, and these effects tend to persist also in the long-term. Therefore, it is important to understand what factors influence this gender difference in responsibility after childbirth.
Potential important factors include to what extent there exist a system for parental allowance (and how it is constructed), gender inequalities in income from work, gender barriers in the labor market, culture and norms (Duvander 2014; Wall and Arnold 2007; Lappegård et al. 2020; Dahl et al. 2014).
The current project investigates the role of norms. Norms can be divided into two types (Cialdini et al. 1991). Injunctive social norms are norms about what an individual ought to do. Hence, it is about moral approval (or disapproval) of others. A descriptive social norm is what other people do. In this project, we will conduct a survey experiment to investigate to what extent descriptive social norms – specifically, the number of days other fathers stay home with their children during the first year after childbirth – influence the number of days a particular father stays home. The rationale for focusing on fathers is that they only take-up a small share of total parental leave days and they are the target of many policies related to the system for parental allowance.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Agerström, Jens, Magnus Carlsson and Asuman Erenel. 2020. "The impact of descriptive social norms on parental leave take-up among fathers." AEA RCT Registry. November 03. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6692
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The participants will answer the following question: “If you become a father, how many days (0-365) would you stay at home taking care of the child during the first year after childbirth?”. Before being presented with the question, the participants will see a norm manipulation (intervention) considering parental leave.
Intervention Start Date
2020-11-04
Intervention End Date
2020-11-11

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The outcome in the survey experiment is the number of days the participant plan to stay at home taking care of the child during the first year after childbirth.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
If some of your outcomes will be constructed (e.g. "women empowerment") please provide a description of how the outcome will be constructed from the main variables.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Not applicable.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The survey experiment will be conducted online. The participants will be young males holding a UK citizenship. They will answer a question regarding their parental leave take-up intentions in case they would get a child. Before being presented with the question, the participants will see the norm manipulation in the experiment.
Experimental Design Details
This survey experiment is conducted using Prolific (https://www.prolific.co). The participants are males aged 25-35 holding a UK citizenship (N=1,000). They answered the following question: “If you become a father, how many days (0-365) would you stay at home taking care of the child during the first year after childbirth?”. Before being presented with the question, the participants saw the norm manipulation in the experiment, which constituted different information about how many days other fathers in the UK stay at home taking care of the child during the first year after childbirth. Using a between-subjects design, the participants are randomly assigned to one of three groups:

• Control group: No explicit information about how many days fathers in the UK stay at home taking care of the child during the first year after childbirth.
• Treatment group 1: Information indicating that the number of days is high
• Treatment group 2: Information indicating that the number of days is low

The information given to participants in the high versus low treatment groups is based on a pilot study. In the pilot study, we targeted the same population (N=150) and asked participants “How many days do you think fathers in the UK on average stay at home to take care of the child during the first year (365 days) after childbirth?”. The respondents thought that fathers stay at home approximately 40 days on average. We decided to use 70 and 10 as the high and low descriptive norm, respectively. The full material and all survey questions are presented to the participants is found in the appendix.
Randomization Method
Randomization will be done using the Qualtrics survey software..
Randomization Unit
Randomization is done at the individual level.
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
1,000 participants.
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,000 participants
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Approximately one third of the sample will be in each treatment arm.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
We have calculated the statistical power of detecting H1 and H2 (the main hypotheses) simultaneously as outlined at the EGAP webpage (http://egap.org/content/power-analysis-simulations-r). Based on the pilot study described above, we assume that men plan to say home 40 days on average with a child during the first year after childbirth. We assume that the standard deviation is 15. Next, we assume that the effect of the high and low treatments is -4 and 4, respectively, which correspond to a 10% decrease/increase in the number of days that men plan to stay home with their child the first year after childbirth. Given these assumptions, the power simulations show that we need about 900 respondents to have 80 percent power to detect that two main treatment effects simultaneously. In the end, we decided to sample 1,000 respondents.
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents

The impact of descriptive social norms on parental leave take-up among fathers

MD5: 8d3ef95d54eda47e5f870b0764cf3ae6

SHA1: b1a05329bc838e1b7a75cf4c3abec49f6968665f

Uploaded At: November 03, 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