The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on perceived returns to university education in Switzerland.

Last registered on September 28, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on perceived returns to university education in Switzerland.
Initial registration date
May 10, 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
May 10, 2021, 11:37 AM EDT

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

Last updated
September 28, 2021, 8:30 AM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

University of Zurich

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
This paper studies educational plans and perception of pecuniary and non-pecuniary returns to higher education of Swiss pupils in times of the Covid-19 pandemic. I make use of subjective quantitative measures and a priming treatment to analyse the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on educational intentions and future earnings expectations in Switzerland.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Hagspiel, Laura. 2021. "The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on perceived returns to university education in Switzerland.." AEA RCT Registry. September 28.
Experimental Details


The intervention is a priming treatment in which some participants are more exposed towards the concept of a pandemic. The survey tool I am using will randomly put those questioned into a control or treatment group. In concrete terms, this means that the two groups face different versions of the questionnaire. One group – the treatment group – has the questions concerning the pandemic first with additionally an image of the nationally distributed “Corona-poster” of the Swiss Government shown to them. Also, they have one more question than the control group for the manipulation check. The control group instead starts with the questions about the returns to education and educational plans - so that no previous connection to Covid-19 related issues is created.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Expectation about monthly future pre-tax earnings at age 25 in CHF, Student’s intention to follow a tertiary educational path, Non-pecuniary benefits & costs of higher education (Consumption value)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
To capture the perception of returns to university education and to measure the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, I conduct an online-survey with pupils in Switzerland from March-May 2021.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
The survey tool I am using - Qualtrics - will randomly put those questioned into a control or treatment group.
Randomization Unit
The randomisation happens at the individual level.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
around 3000 pupils
Sample size: planned number of observations
around 3000 pupils
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
around 1500 treatment, around 1500 control group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents

Pre Analysis Plan

MD5: ee2efc8481e7182d86adeab75e24e713

SHA1: 190ca9284b218227088f46f23d5f28657b6b68cf

Uploaded At: May 10, 2021


Post Trial Information

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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