Information frictions in job search and occupational segregation

Last registered on October 21, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Information frictions in job search and occupational segregation
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008243
Initial registration date
October 05, 2021
Last updated
October 21, 2021, 11:53 PM EDT

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Southern California

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2021-10-01
End date
2022-08-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
The literature has studied key drivers of occupational segregation under an implicit assumption of complete information. The representative argument is that women have stronger preferences over non-pecuniary attributes of jobs and opt into sectors with lower wages. However, evidence shows that male-dominated sectors generally provide not only higher wages but also better non-wage amenities. To understand this puzzle from the supply side, this project focuses on the role of information frictions that may hinder young female job seekers from making educated choices in their initial job search. I propose a novel survey experiment on 1,000 senior undergraduates in Korea, designed to test the hypothesis that students have inaccurate information on the gaps between the core attributes of male-dominated and female-dominated sectors. The randomized intervention provides accurate information on pre-specified job attributes of several sectors, calculated from a representative survey of recent graduates. Impacts are then traced on gender segregation in aspirations, information acquisition during job search, search intensity and direction, and sectoral allocation.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Lee, Jung Hyuk. 2021. "Information frictions in job search and occupational segregation." AEA RCT Registry. October 21. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8243-1.1
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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The study consists of three rounds of surveys – the baseline, the first follow-up, and the second follow-up (end-line). The baseline survey is administered in the beginning of the senior students’ last semester (Fall 2021) with a randomized treatment. A sample of senior college students with humanity and social sciences majors is collected and divided into three groups: Group 1 is male students without the information treatment, Group 2 is female students without the information treatment, and Group 3 is female students the with information treatment.

At baseline, Group 1 and 2 are compared to identify the existence of information frictions and their contributions to occupational segregation in college graduates’ job market. The survey includes rich questions about diverse job search methods and the search process, enabling the in-depth analysis that links heterogeneous search costs and information acquisition strategies to gender gaps in the information set of job-seekers, their aspirations and expectations.

Group 2 and 3 (both females) are compared for the experimental evaluation of the impact of provision of information on segregation. Group 3 (treatment group) is to be provided with the accurate information on four key characteristics – wages, work hours, welfare level, and job security – of representative job sectors (which include both male-dominated sectors and female-dominated sectors) that are calculated from the nationally-representative survey (annual Graduates Occupational Mobility Survey) of the first jobs of college graduates.

To secure the salience of the intervention, we adopt various strategies. To make sure that the participants read and understand the content of the information treatment, we let them write down the numbers provided in the information table in the blanks and evaluate whether those numbers are larger or smaller than expected. Furthermore, we provide numbers in relative terms to the benchmark sector so that participants can compare the numbers without difficulty. In general, we try to make students realize the gaps in different jobs in a cognitively easy way and observe whether this treatment affects their decision making in real settings.
Intervention Start Date
2021-10-01
Intervention End Date
2021-12-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Aspirations to sectors
Firm choices for the tailored job information newsletter
Sectors/firms searched and applied for
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Changes in beliefs/aspirations
Changes in job searching strategies
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Two groups (500 per each) of female senior undergraduate students are selected randomly. Group 2 and 3 are compared for the experimental evaluation of the impact of provision of information on the segregation. Group 2 (control group) is asked about their beliefs on four key characteristics – wages, work hours, welfare level, and job security – of seven representative job sectors (which include both male-dominated sectors and female-dominated sectors). Group 3 (treatment group) is to be provided with the accurate information on those characteristics that are calculated from the nationally-representative survey of the first jobs of college graduates. At baseline, female students' stated aspirations to each experimental sector are asked.

Two months after the treatment, I administer the first follow-up survey that measures changes in students’ beliefs and intentions. It first asks students about their beliefs on the four characteristics provided in the information treatment, to document whether students have retained the information. As a next step, this survey presents students with the description of a real job information newsletter that we compile and provide. The newsletter consists of real firms across male-dominated and female-dominated sectors that are posting their job ads on a representative job matching website. Students are asked to pick the firms and characteristics about which they would like to receive tailored newsletters in the future. In this way, we can first measure the treatment effect in an incentivized choice setting. The key hypothesis is that treated female job-seekers should have: (i) higher interest in the letter and (ii) higher interest in receiving job information about male-dominated sectors.

Three months after the first follow-up, when most students in the sample are supposed to have graduated and many of them have applied for jobs, I administer the second follow-up survey to examine if they demonstrate different search and application behaviors. Students in both groups are asked to report all the jobs that they have searched/applied for after the baseline survey. Students in the treatment group are hypothesized to show more wide and balanced job search and application behaviors across male and female dominated sectors than those in the control group.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
N/A
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,100 observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Group 1 (100 male students), Group 2 (500 female students), Group 3 (500 female students)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Southern California
IRB Approval Date
2021-09-13
IRB Approval Number
UP-21-00656
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents

pre-analysis plan_upload.pdf

MD5: d5b85dce505bfbd673d8e3b29619c8f5

SHA1: b3a8830ec68e3586b4a8424a52ec6d588f12da12

Uploaded At: October 21, 2021