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Information frictions in job search and occupational segregation

Last registered on October 07, 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

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
October 07, 2021, 4:23 PM EDT

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

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
2022-02-28
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 supply side, this project focuses on the role of information frictions that hinder college job seekers from making educated choices in short time horizon of their initial job search. I propose a novel survey experiment on 1,100 senior undergraduates in Korea, which is designed to test the hypothesis that students have very inaccurate information on the gaps between the core attributes of male-dominated sectors and female-dominated sectors. Based on the examination on the severe biases, a randomized intervention of directly providing accurate information on pre-specified sectors and attributes calculated from recent graduates is administered to see whether the segregation in aspirations and search behaviors is alleviated.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Lee, Jung Hyuk. 2021. "Information frictions in job search and occupational segregation." AEA RCT Registry. October 07. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8243
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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The study consists of three rounds of surveys – the baseline, the second, and the final survey. The baseline survey is administered in the beginning of the senior students’ last semester (Fall 2021) with a randomized treatment. The sample is divided into three groups: Group 1 is male students without information treatment, Group 2 is female students without information treatment, and Group 3 is female students with information treatment.

At the 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 to gender gaps in the information set.

Group 2 and 3 (both females) are compared for the experimental evaluation of the impact of provision of information on the segregation. Group 3 (treatment group) is to be provided with the accurate information on four key characteristics – wages, work hours, welfare level, and job seekers – of representative job sectors (which include both male-dominated sectors and female-dominated sectors) that are calculated from the nationally-representative 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 numbers, we let them write down the numbers 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
2021-10-11

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Number (scope) of job sectors searched/applied for
Composition of job sectors searched/applied for
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Stated aspirations to experimental sectors
Willingness to receive tailored job information newsletter
Firm/characteristics choices for the tailored job information newsletter
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 seekers – 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.

Two months after the treatment, we administer the second survey that measures changes in students’ beliefs. It first asks students about their beliefs on the four characteristics and see whether the treatment effect was salient enough. As a next step, this survey asks students to select among the list of the firms about which they want to subscribe to "tailored job information newsletter" that we provide. The list 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 self-pick the firms and characteristics about which they want to receive the newsletters.

Three months after the second survey, we administer the final 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.
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