Can digital technologies influence social norms? A behavioural study with women in Paraguay

Last registered on July 24, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Can digital technologies influence social norms? A behavioural study with women in Paraguay
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0007971
Initial registration date
July 16, 2021
Last updated
July 24, 2021, 8:49 PM EDT

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
McGill University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Fundación Capital
PI Affiliation
Fundación Capital
PI Affiliation
McGill University
PI Affiliation
Fundación Capital
PI Affiliation
McGill University
PI Affiliation
McGil University

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2021-07-20
End date
2022-05-25
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This study is an artefactual lab experiment in the field to understand how individuals form beliefs around social norms and to evaluate whether digital solutions to raising awareness around gender equality are able to influence beliefs around these norms. Specifically, using lab-in-the-field settings in Paraguay, we test whether the digital app developed by Fundación Capital – IgualdApp – has a differential impact on individual and common beliefs on three domains of gender norms (traditional gender roles, violence against women, and sexual and reproductive health and rights) compared to conventional informational awareness products. To be eligible for inclusion in the study, women must be beneficiaries of the Abrazo program, a child-care program run by Paraguay’s Ministry of Children and Adolescents with which Fundación Capital is partnering to provide mothers with social protection services (Graduation Program). In our experiment, we recruit women to participate in a session where we elicit individual and common beliefs around gender norms before and after receiving information on gender equality. This information consists of basic facts, statistics and guidance on who to call to seek help through the use of flyers developed by Fundación Capital. In one half of the sessions, “treatment” sessions, participants are also invited to work through IgualdApp, the digital app developed to help beneficiaries gain tools to identify and act on inequalities, discrimination and how to prevent violence against women. We test 3 IgualdApp modules out of 6: all treatment sessions receive the module on traditional gender roles, ½ of the treatment sessions also receives the module on preventing violence against women and children and the remaining ½ receives the module on sexual and reproductive health and rights. In “control” sessions, subjects only receive the basic information. Individual beliefs are measured through Likert Agreement/Disagreement responses to a set of questions formulated as norms related to the three domains, while common beliefs are measures by incentivizing these same questions. More precisely, we adapt the Krupka and Weber (2013) method to elicit common beliefs by means of a lab coordination game, where subjects coordinate on Likert scale responses. Designed as an artefactual lab-in-the field experiment, not a randomized controlled trial, we plan to conduct 26 sessions in 13 Abrazo centres in four regions of Paraguay, with an anticipated number of participants of 10 to 15 participants per session, for an estimated total sample size of 380. In most centres, we conduct two sessions: one control and one treatment. All treatment sessions receive the IgualdApp module on traditional gender roles. Whether a treatment session received in addition the module on prevention of violence against women or on sexual and reproductive health and rights was determined randomly.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
De Miranda, Carolina et al. 2021. "Can digital technologies influence social norms? A behavioural study with women in Paraguay." AEA RCT Registry. July 24. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.7971-1.0
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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2021-07-20
Intervention End Date
2021-08-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
individual and common beliefs around social norms related to traditional gender roles, prevention of violence against women and children, sexual and reproductive health and rights. Individual and common beliefs are elicited by means of a 5-point Likert Agreement/Disagreement scale applied to 10 normative statements related to these three domains of gender norms. Common beliefs are elicited by experimentally converting the instrument into a coordination game. Of the 10 normative statements, 4 relate to the traditional gender roles domain, while violence prevention and SRHR are associated with 3 normative statements each. Outcomes will be observed using participant responses. Additional analyses will create coordination indices.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Our study is an artefactual lab experiment in the field, not a randomized controlled trial. We run sessions in 13 centres, and in most centres we hold two sessions: one control (basic information only) and one treatment (basic information + IgualdApp). Among treatment sessions, we randomize between those that receive modules on traditional roles + prevention of violence and those that receive modules on traditional roles + sexual and reproductive health and rights. This randomization is done by a random number generator (computer). As of June 2021, there are 1078 Abrazo participants in these 13 centres, and we recruit at the center level by enrolling the first 30 participants who respond to our call.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
PI's Computer
Randomization Unit
Abrazo center
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
13 Abrazo centres
Sample size: planned number of observations
380 participants
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
13 sessions control (190 participants), 7 sessions Treatment 1 (100 participants), 6 sessions Treatment 2 (90 participants.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
McGill University
IRB Approval Date
2021-05-25
IRB Approval Number
REB#21-05-059