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Detecting Discrimination in the German Child Care Market – A Correspondence Study
Last registered on March 22, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Detecting Discrimination in the German Child Care Market – A Correspondence Study
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0007389
Initial registration date
March 19, 2021
Last updated
March 22, 2021 1:17 PM EDT
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
KU Eichstätt-Ingolstadt
PI Affiliation
DZHW, DIW Berlin
PI Affiliation
Norwegian School of Economics
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2021-03-22
End date
2022-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
While a persistent enrollment gap in German early child care by socioeconomic status (SES) is well-documented, the reasons for lower enrollment rates among lower SES children are poorly understood. Focusing on the supply-side of child care markets, we plan to investigate whether admission decisions by child care center managers differ by parental SES. To this end, we will send out a standardized email to child care center managers, drafted to mimic real parental requests. The email includes implicit signals about parents’ SES that we randomly vary across emails. By analyzing differences in response rates, response time, and quality of replies by parental SES signal, we examine to what extent child care center managers discriminate when responding to email inquiries.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Hermes, Henning et al. 2021. "Detecting Discrimination in the German Child Care Market – A Correspondence Study." AEA RCT Registry. March 22. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.7389-1.0.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We will send out fictitious email inquiries to child care centers in Germany. The emails include implicit signals of parents’ SES that we vary across emails. In addition, a subset of the randomized emails also includes an email signature that informs about the sender's educational background. Hence, we randomize over four treatments (high vs. low SES signal; education marker yes vs. no). We then analyze whether response rates, the response time, and the quality of the answers differ by senders' background.
In order to contact child care centers, we use a commercial dataset that entails basic information (e.g., the email addresses) of more than 90 percent of all child care institutions in Germany. We will impose certain sample restrictions (e.g., we focus on child care centers open for children below the age of three years), which leaves us with an experimental sample of about 22,000 child care centers. We will then randomly assign child care centers to one of our four treatment conditions and send the respective email.
Intervention Start Date
2021-03-22
Intervention End Date
2021-05-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
• Response rate
• Response time
• Response quality
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Heterogeneity by provider type, location, size of the child care center, and share of migrants in a given region.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We send out email inquiries to child care centers which are drafted according to real parental requests. They vary by whether they signal high or low SES of the sender, and whether they contain an email signature informing about the sender's educational background.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
• Stratified randomization
• Randomization and stratification carried out by the stratarand command in Stata
Randomization Unit
child care center level
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Clusters on individual level (see number of observations)
Sample size: planned number of observations
18,000 child care centers (expected; contingent on email bounce rate; see sample size)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
In order to contact child care centers, we use a commercial dataset that entails basic information (e.g., the email addresses) of more than 90 percent of all child care institutions in Germany. We will impose certain sample restrictions (e.g., we focus on child care centers open for children below the age of three years), which leaves us with an experimental sample of about 22,000 child care centers. We will then randomly assign child care centers to one of our four treatment conditions and send the respective email. We expect an email bounce rate of about 20% which leaves us with an expected final sample size of approximately 18,000.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Ethics Committee at the Department of Economics at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich
IRB Approval Date
2021-03-18
IRB Approval Number
2020-17
Analysis Plan

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