How to reduce discrimination? Evidence from a field experiment in amateur football

Last registered on May 16, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
How to reduce discrimination? Evidence from a field experiment in amateur football
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008049
Initial registration date
October 29, 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
November 01, 2021, 12:44 PM EDT

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

Last updated
May 16, 2022, 1:07 PM EDT

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

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
NTNU

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Erasmus University Rotterdam
PI Affiliation
University of Zurich

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2021-10-15
End date
2021-12-10
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
A national football federation sends an email to coaches of amateur football clubs, pointing to the important role football plays in promoting inclusivity and reducing racism in society. The email also describes findings from earlier studies showing that discrimination is present in amateur football. Each amateur football club in the country is randomly assigned to either receiving the email or not. At most one coach per club is contacted. In the next stage of the experiment, fictitious applications will be sent to coaches asking if it is possible to join a training session. The applications, which are send by email, will differ only in the contact name (foreign- or native-sounding names). We study whether coaches who were sent the email from the national football federation respond differently to the email requests to join a training session as compared to coaches who were not sent the email from the national football federation. Our main prediction is that the email from the federation leads to an increase in positive responses to email requests to join a training session signed with a foreign name, whereas we expect no effects for email requests to join a training session signed with a native name. A positive response is defined as either an invitation to come to a training or a conditional acceptance (e.g. yes, you're welcome, but only if you are a player of a particular type, e.g. defender).
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Dur, Robert, Carlos Gomez-Gonzalez and Cornel Nesseler. 2022. "How to reduce discrimination? Evidence from a field experiment in amateur football." AEA RCT Registry. May 16. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8049
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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
A national football federation sends an email to coaches of amateur football clubs, pointing to the important role football plays in promoting inclusivity and reducing racism in society. The email also describes findings from earlier studies showing that discrimination is present in amateur football. Each amateur football club in the country is randomly assigned to either receiving the email or not. At most one coach per club is contacted.
Intervention Start Date
2021-10-15
Intervention End Date
2021-12-10

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our outcome variable is the response of coaches of the amateur football clubs to the request to join a training. In the control group (the group of coaches who have not been sent an email by the federation), we expect a positive gap in positive response rates to emails signed with a native and foreign-sounding name. In the treatment group, we expect that this gap is smaller. A positive response is defined as either an invitation to come to a training or a conditional acceptance (e.g. yes, you're welcome, but only if you are a player of a particular type, e.g. defender).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Previous field experiments show that amateur soccer clubs discriminate against people with foreign-sounding names. We want to replicate parts of these experiments. In addition, our key aim is to detect if it is possible to decrease discrimination.

We follow the method of previous research (e.g., Nesseler et al., (2019) or Gomez-Gonzalez et al., (2021)). Thus, we create fictitious amateur soccer players that are asking amateur soccer teams to participate in a trial session. We then evaluate the response of the soccer clubs.

Following the recommendations of the ethical committee, we send another email to coaches who respond to the request to join a training. The email aims to minimize the impact on coaches and reads as follows: "Thank you very much for your answer. Unfortunately, I am no longer interested."

References
Gomez-Gonzalez, C., Nesseler, C., & Dietl, H. M. (2021). Mapping discrimination in Europe through a field experiment in amateur sport. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 8(1), 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-021-00773-2

Nesseler, C., Gomez-Gonzalez, C., & Dietl, H. (2019). What’s in a name? Measuring access to social activities with a field experiment. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 5(1), 1-7. doi: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-019-0372-0
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Individual club
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
973 amateur clubs
Sample size: planned number of observations
973 coaches at 973 different amateur clubs
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
973 coaches at 973 different amateur clubs
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Assuming the positive response rate to applications with foreign-sounding name in the control group is 50%, we are adequately powered for a 12,5 percentage points treatment effect on response rate, which is about the size of the gap in positive response rates between native and foreign-sounding names for Norway in the earlier studies mentioned above.
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Human Subjects Committee of the Faculty of Economics, Business Administration, and Information Technology
IRB Approval Date
2021-05-10
IRB Approval Number
2021-031

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
October 15, 2021, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
October 15, 2021, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
967
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
967
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
466 in treatment, 501 in control
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
Yes

Program Files

Program Files
No
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Abstract
A rich literature shows that ethnic discrimination is an omnipresent and highly persistent phenomenon. Little is known, however, about how to reduce discrimination. This study reports the results of a large-scale field experiment we ran together with the Norwegian Football Federation. The federation sent an email to a random selection of about 500 amateur soccer coaches, pointing towards the important role that soccer can play in promoting inclusivity and reducing racism in society and calling on the coaches to be open to all interested applicants. Two weeks later, we sent fictitious applications to join an amateur club, using either a native-sounding or a foreign-sounding name, to the same coaches and to a random selection of about 500 coaches who form the control group. In line with earlier research, we find that applications from people with a native-sounding name receive significantly more positive responses than applications from people with a foreign-sounding name. Surprisingly and unintentionally, the email from the federation substantially increased rather than decreased this gap. Our study underlines the importance of running field experiments to check whether well-intended initiatives are effective in reducing discrimination.
Citation
Robert Dur, Carlos Gomez-Gonzalez & Cornel Nesseler (2022) How to reduce discrimination? Evidence from a field experiment in amateur soccer, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, forthcoming.

Reports & Other Materials