Parental Beliefs about Child Development: Community versus Expert Knowledge

Last registered on March 15, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

Parental Beliefs about Child Development: Community versus Expert Knowledge
Initial registration date
January 25, 2021

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
January 26, 2021, 10:17 AM EST

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

Last updated
March 15, 2021, 12:16 AM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

Universidad del Rosario

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Queen's University
PI Affiliation
University of Chicago

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
The study entails an experiment in entire, isolated Argentinian communities in the province of Tucuman. By exogenously changing the beliefs of individuals within these communities, we aim at bringing experimental evidence on the evolution of wisdom of the crowd (community knowledge) and the aggregation of beliefs when individuals are presented with scientific evidence. The experiment will be conducted in the context of early childhood education and parenting practices. Understanding through which mechanisms social beliefs move from community knowledge to evidence-based knowledge is crucial for policymakers in this context as parental behavior plays a critical role in child development. Changing social beliefs towards better parenting practices has the potential to improve children’s schooling and labor market outcomes and disrupt the perpetuation of socioeconomic inequality in the long-run.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Pernaudet, Julie, Julia Seither and Karen Ye. 2021. "Parental Beliefs about Child Development: Community versus Expert Knowledge." AEA RCT Registry. March 15.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details


We will provide scientific information about the importance of talking with children for early brain development to randomly selected household representatives in different Argentinian villages and study how individual beliefs update in the face of scientific evidence given community beliefs, how information diffuses and how it aggregates through social networks.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Beliefs over the returns to talking with children for early brain development.
Demand for early childhood development programs.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Parenting practices.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The proposed project consists of three phases:

Phase 1: We will collect detailed household data on existing beliefs about the returns to talking with children, parenting practices, and social network data within the respective villages.

Phase 2: A random sub-sample of household representatives will be invited to a lab-in-the-field experiment where they will be provided with information about the importance of language and communication for child development. Within the lab experiment, we will analyze under what conditions individuals update their beliefs. This will allow us to determine the network weights our lab participants will have to disseminate this new information within the villages.

Phase 3: We will conduct two follow-up surveys to estimate the information dissemination within village clusters and beliefs aggregation. The seeders of the new information will be the lab participants who, given their individual characteristics, will have different network weights in the community. Phase 3 will allow us to analyze under what conditions and to what extent social beliefs converge towards scientific evidence and whether social learning ultimately leads to improved parenting practices.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization will be done through a private lottery draw in respondents' houses after the baseline survey.
Randomization Unit
We randomly select main household members to participate in the lab-in-the-field experiment which serves as our treatment.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
15 villages
Sample size: planned number of observations
2.200 households
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
500 households will be in the treatment arm as they will be invited to the lab experience whereas 1.700 households are control or potential network spillover households.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Chicago Social Sciences Division IRB
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials