Workplace Diversity and Inclusion

Last registered on August 05, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Workplace Diversity and Inclusion
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008020
Initial registration date
August 03, 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
August 05, 2021, 5:06 AM EDT

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

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Claremont McKenna College

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Chicago
PI Affiliation
Washington University in Saint Louis

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2021-10-01
End date
2022-07-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
To advance our understanding of diversity and inclusion in labor markets, this field experiment will examine the effects of workplace diversity on worker behavior and employee composition, and identify channels driving the effects, using actual workers in a real workplace. Employee diversity, defined as demographic variation among workers (primarily race and gender), has been argued to have significant impacts on worker- and firm-level outcomes such as employee behavior, recruiting, and productivity of companies and organizations. Yet much of this is theoretical and conjectural: rigorous empirical evidence on the existence and extent of impacts, as well as the causal mechanisms through which they occur, is lacking. This field experiment fills that gap by generating new causal evidence that tests for effects, measures their size, and identifies their channels. Specifically, the project will examine the impacts of racial diversity and gender diversity among workers on diversity and skill level of applicants, worker performance, labor supply, and other critical dimensions of worker behavior and characteristics. It will also identify the extent to which these impacts derive from (i) effects on the types of people that apply to a job (e.g. what types of workers are attracted to diverse or inclusive workplaces); (ii) effects on the types of people that stay at the firm (employee retention); and (iii) effects on behavior from working in a diverse or inclusive environment separate from impacts on types of employees recruited or retained. (The first two channels are often referred to as “selection effects” and the third as “treatment effects”.) Tightly linking the experiment design to a structural model will ensure the insights we uncover feed directly into our existing body of knowledge and help expand theory to better address questions and problems relating to diversity and inclusion.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Flory, Jeffrey, Brent Hickman and John List. 2021. "Workplace Diversity and Inclusion." AEA RCT Registry. August 05. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8020
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2021-11-15
Intervention End Date
2022-01-15

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
productivity (time to produce each unit of output), accuracy (number of errors per unit of output), labor supply (number of hours worked), cooperation (agreement level in teams), application probability, as well as four underlying parameters in a structural model specifying each productivity dimension (productivity, accuracy, labor supply/leisure, cooperation)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We advertise a job with variation in employee diversity and wages and use data generated during the work-stage of the experiment to determine impacts of this variation on worker selection. (Randomization at individual level, between-subjects.) We also exogenously vary the diversity environment of workers while they are working, to measure impacts of variation in coworker diversity on production characteristics (speed, accuracy, labor supply, cooperation). (Randomization at the shift-level, within-subject.) The work is done in teams, with a joint production output.
Experimental Design Details
Stage 1 (Hiring): We post a job ad (for a real job) with a general description of the position and a link to request more information about the job. Individuals who request more information are then randomly assigned to one of the four Hiring Stage Treatments, emailed the corresponding treatment script/materials, and told to submit a brief application and short resume in order to apply. To implement the diversity signaling treatments, we will use short messages signaling workplace diversity in bold at the top of a page of information. Which treatment a job-seeker receives will be randomly determined, randomization is at the individual-level, and is between-subject. In addition to the signals about workplace diversity, we have a high-wage and low-wage version of the job, giving us a 2x2 experiment design for the first stage of treatments. Note that people will actually be hired for each of the 4 conditions, to work in a real job. To measure how the treatments impact selection and distribution of worker productivity characteristics (speed, accuracy, labor supply, cooperation), and whether treatment impacts vary by race or gender, we use data generated during the work-stage of the experiment.

Stage 2 (Working): Individuals will be hired into short-term (approx. 10-day) positions from each of the hiring-stage treatments. The work consists of multiple iterations of a data-entry task performed in teams of two and that allows us to gather many observations for each individual on production speed, production accuracy, labor supply, and cooperation. Workers will perform a data-entry task remotely (online) in which they record data for images as a joint production of 2-person teams. We will have a video-chat in the online work platform through which the workers can communicate with each other, and we will tell the workers they are required to agree on and enter the same information for each question. This will require dialog between the two workers to confirm they are entering the same data – especially for qualitative questions. While described as a “joint” submission, each worker will individually submit the data through their own interface with the online work platform. The data-entry system will intentionally allow them to enter differing information. While the pictures and accompanying data-entry sheets will appear in the same order for each employee in the pair, the work system will not prevent one of the workers from moving on faster than the other. To measure how experiencing workplace diversity impacts worker behavior on the job, we will exogenously vary the working conditions faced by the data-entrants we hire into the position. To test the effects of working in a diverse work setting on employee behavior, the work-stage treatments consist of a homogeneous condition (working in a team with someone of the same gender and race), and diversity conditions (working in a team with someone of a different gender, different race, or both). Randomization is at the shift-level (projected to be approx. 1-hour), generating within-subject variation.
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Hiring Stage: Individual level randomization.
Work-Stage: Individual + Shift level randomization
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Hiring Stage: 10,000
Work Stage: 600
Sample size: planned number of observations
Hiring Stage: 10,000 Work Stage: 600
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Hiring Stage: 2,500 non-diverse low wage, 2,500 non-diverse high wage, 2,500 diverse low, 2,500 diverse high
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Claremont McKenna College Institutional Review Board (IRB)
IRB Approval Date
2021-07-13
IRB Approval Number
2021-06-026

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials