Role Model Mentoring and Children's Aspirations

Last registered on April 21, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

Role Model Mentoring and Children's Aspirations
Initial registration date
April 20, 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
April 21, 2021, 10:42 AM EDT

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


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Primary Investigator

University of Amsterdam

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Amsterdam
PI Affiliation
University of Birmingham
PI Affiliation
University of Zurich

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
The social environment each individual is exposed to during childhood contributes to molding personality and aspirations. Children living in deprived areas or neighborhoods receive fewer stimuli as they often attend lower-quality schools and interact less with inspiring adults. These interactions potentially lower their ambitions, aspirations, and their beliefs about future life opportunities. We design a cost-effective school intervention targeting 13-year-old students. The intervention consists in exposing children to online meetings with a group of role models, namely individuals who are now successful and influential in their profession/activities. The aim is to test whether the intervention improves children’s aspirations and ambitions. We run the intervention in the Italian region of Campania as this region is historically plagued by stagnating economic conditions, the presence of organized crime, and a generalized lack of trust in institutions. These features might shape discouragement about life opportunities and lower ambitions in many children living in these areas. Unsurprisingly, dropout rate in this region is dramatically higher than in other areas of the country: more than 18 per cent of the population aged 18-24 has completed, at most, lower secondary education, a value that is five percentage points higher than the national average.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Biroli, Pietro et al. 2021. "Role Model Mentoring and Children's Aspirations." AEA RCT Registry. April 21.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details


The intervention consists in organizing a set of online meetings (April and early May 2021) with role models for students enrolled in their second year of middle school (12-13 years old). We will evaluate the impact of this intervention on students' aspirations and ambitions.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Children’s aspirations, ambitions, plans for future education career and school engagement (e.g. choice of secondary school track/curricula).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
We might consider matching our data with information on grades obtained in the academic year next to the one in which the intervention is run.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The experimental design includes two treatment arms: a treatment group (TG) and a control group (CG).

1) TG: group of students who will be exposed to online meetings with role models.

2) CG: group of students who will continue with their standard school schedule.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Approximately: 4 schools, 26 classes, 13 treated classes and 13 classes in the control group
Sample size: planned number of observations
Approximately 560 pupils (obtained as about 140 students in 4 schools)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Approximately 280 pupils in the treatment group and 280 pupils in the control group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Human Subjects Committee of the Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Information Technology at the University of Zurich
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
OEC IRB # 2021-021