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The Importance of Social Norms for Maternal Labor-Market Expectations and Attitudes
Last registered on November 23, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
The Importance of Social Norms for Maternal Labor-Market Expectations and Attitudes
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0006801
Initial registration date
November 23, 2020
Last updated
November 23, 2020 10:32 AM EST
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
KU Eichstätt-Ingolstadt
PI Affiliation
DZHW Hannover
PI Affiliation
University of Augsburg
PI Affiliation
Norwegian School of Economics
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2020-11-23
End date
2021-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
A growing literature studies the importance of social norms in female labor-market decisions, but little is known about how norms related to childcare affect labor-market attitudes of mothers of young children. Existing studies show that people in conserva-tive societies underestimate the progressivity of social norms regarding female labor-market participation, and that correcting these misperceptions through information provision increases female labor-market attachment. Likewise, misperceived social norms about maternal labor supply could be an important obstacle for labor-market decisions of mothers. In the present experiment, we plan to correct false beliefs for a random subsample of mothers to identify causal effects of correcting misperceptions about prevailing social norms. Specifically, we provide a random subset of mothers with information about the actual share of mothers in their city thinking that mothers with children below three years of age should not work. We aim at answering whether our treatment (1) increases willingness to return to work earlier or increase current working hours, thereby mitigating the gender gap on the labor market, (2) changes mother’s labor-market and childcare attitudes, (3) alters beliefs about returns to full-time employment, and (4) helps correcting mother’s beliefs about similar social norms in the German society. We envisage a sample size of 450 parents with children aged two to three years.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Hermes, Henning et al. 2020. "The Importance of Social Norms for Maternal Labor-Market Expectations and Attitudes." AEA RCT Registry. November 23. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6801-1.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Our RCT investigates the effects of providing subjects with information about the ac-tual share of mothers in their city thinking that mothers with children below three years of age should not work on (1) willingness to return to work earlier or increase current working hours, (2) labor-market and childcare attitudes, (3) beliefs about returns to full-time employment, and (4) beliefs about similar social norms in the German socie-ty.
In the following, we first describe our general setting, and then provide details about the data collection and intervention.
Intervention Start Date
2020-11-23
Intervention End Date
2020-12-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
- Planned employment status and working hours at the end of 2021.
- Interest in consultancy provided as part of a job assistance program at the local employment agency.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
- Labor-market and childcare attitudes (agreement to the following statements: mothers with children below three years of age should not work, mothers and fathers should split childcare equally, women should not earn more than their partners).
- Reservation wage.
- Beliefs about returns to full-time employment (income, career opportunities, child development, partnership, own well-being, social reputation).
- Incentivized beliefs about similar social norms for a different group of individ-uals (a representative sample of women in Germany instead of mothers in their city).
- Heterogeneity analysis by (i) extent of misperception, (ii) own opinion on the statement that mothers with children below three years of age should not work, (iii) migration background, and (iv) socioeconomic status/labor market history.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We will conduct a randomized controlled trial in which participants are randomly as-signed to treatment or control within strata (also see “Intervention”). We plan to sam-ple 450 parents (also see “Experiment characteristics”) out of a gross sample of 562 potential participants.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
- Stratified randomization
- Randomization done with computer in office
Randomization Unit
Individual randomization (parent level)
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
450 parents
Sample size: planned number of observations
450 parents (225 in control group; 225 in treatment group)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
There will be two experimental groups:
Control group: 225 individual, independent observations
Treatment group: 225 individual, independent observations
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Ethics Committee at the KU Eichstätt-Ingolstadt
IRB Approval Date
2020-11-20
IRB Approval Number
NA