Increasing the proportion of female-led firms in government support programs: A randomized e-mail information experiment

Last registered on November 15, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Increasing the proportion of female-led firms in government support programs: A randomized e-mail information experiment
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008416
Initial registration date
October 25, 2021
Last updated
November 15, 2021, 7:19 AM EST

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Technical University Berlin

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Mediterranean School of Business
PI Affiliation
Technical University Berlin
PI Affiliation
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
PI Affiliation
Mediterranean School of Business

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2021-10-26
End date
2021-12-17
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
Female entrepreneurs continue to be underrepresented across the globe, particularly among exporting firms. Thus, promoting female entrepreneurship is regarded as a key policy goal for structural transformation. In that regard, the objective of this intervention is to increase the participation of female-led firms in an export promotion program through the use of different encouragement messages included into the program's email communication campaign.
The intervention is an information treatment whereby three different e-mails will be sent to a sample of 4343 Tunisian firms to motivate them to participate in an e-commerce training that intends to promote exports of SMEs. The sample will be randomly split into three groups whereby two treatment groups will receive e-mails that, in addition to the general information about the program, contain information that shall encourage female business owners to participate. The first e-mail contains information about free-of-charge childcare services during the classroom trainings that will be offered to the participants. The second email includes information and a link to a video of a successful female Tunisian entrepreneur that talks about her experience as an e-commerce exporter. The third e-mail contains just the information required for registration but no additional encouragement messages and will be sent to the control group. The sample consists of both female and male-led firms, as both the potential effect of female encouragement and a potential backlash (by male business owners) who may feel discouraged by the additional messages shall be investigated.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Bouziri, Amira et al. 2021. "Increasing the proportion of female-led firms in government support programs: A randomized e-mail information experiment." AEA RCT Registry. November 15. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8416-2.0
Sponsors & Partners

There are documents in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access to this information.

Request Information
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The intervention is an information treatment whereby three different e-mails will be sent to a sample of 4847 Tunisian firms to motivate them to participate in an e-commerce training that intends to promote exports of SMEs. The sample is randomly split into three groups whereby two treatment groups will receive e-mails that, in addition to the general information about the program, contains information that shall encourage female business owners to participate. The first e-mail contains information about free-of-charge childcare services during the classroom trainings that will be offered to participants. The second email includes information and link to a video of a successful female Tunisian entrepreneur that talks about her experience as an exporter. The third e-mail contains just the information required for registration but no additional encouragement messages and will be sent to the control group. The sample consists of both female and male-led firms, as both the potential effect of female encouragement and a potential backlash (by male business owners) who may feel discouraged by the additional messages shall be investigated.
Intervention Start Date
2021-11-01
Intervention End Date
2021-11-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Primary Hypothesis 1: Receiving information about free-of-charge childcare services will lead to increase in program registration.
Primary Hypothesis 2: Receiving information about a female entrepreneur that suceeded in exporting through e-commerce will lead to an increase in program registration.

Our hypothesis are based on existing experimental evidence that finds a positive impact of female applications and no differences in male application when using female affirmative action messages in job announcement (Ibanez & Riener 2018)
Our primary hypotheses will be tested through binary outcome variable indicating whether the firm that received the email registered for the program (1) or not (0).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
A firm that successfully received an email (no bounce back notification received) but did not sign up for the program will be coded as zero. A firm that successfully received an email (no bounce back notification received) and signed up for the program will be coded as one. String matching based on the email address and firm name will be used to identify registered firms in the original dataset.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
We will estimate the gender-specific treatment effect and undertake subgroup-analyses by firm size, governorate (region), town and sectors. The gender-specific effect of the e-mail treatment on registration will be estimated through a gender variable, binary-coded based on first name of the director that was indicated in the data set, which will be interacted with the two treatment dummies (E-Mail 1, E-Mail 2).

Secondary Hypothesis 1: Receiving information about free-of-charge childcare services will lead to a larger increase in program registration among women-led firms than among men-led firms.
Secondary Hypothesis 2: Receiving information about a female entrepreneur that succeeded in exporting through e-commerce will lead to a larger increase in program registration among women-led firms than among men-led firms.

Secondary Hypothesis 1 and 2 are based on the same evidence cited above (Ibanez & Riener 2018)

Secondary Hypothesis 3: Receiving information about free-of-charge childcare services will increase the registration more for small firms than for larger firms. We expect this size-specific effect because larger firms usually have more possibilities to dispose of an employee for the training, whereas this may be more difficult for smaller firms where employees or the business owners have more conflicting duties. Hence, the childcare information will be more relevant for the latter group.

Secondary Hypothesis 4: Receiving information about a female entrepreneur that succeeded in exporting through e-commerce will increase the registration more among small firms than among larger firms. We expect that small firms perceive the act of exporting as more complex and hence the encouragement effect of seeing a successful example of an established (female) entrepreneur should have a larger effect on this group.

Secondary Hypothesis 5: Both treatment effects will vary across sectors. We expect the encouragement messages to have a larger impact in sectors where female underrepresentation is stronger.

Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The sample consists of 4847 firms. The firms were randomly assigned to treatment 1 (childcare message), treatment 2 (influencer video) or control group. Prior to the randomization, the sample was stratified based on the gender of the firms' director and the sector. Sector information was only obtained for 3723 out of the 4847 firms. For the remaining 1124 firms, sector was categorized as “undefined” and two additional strata were formed for female and male firms with undefined sector information. In total 17 strata were formed. In cases where the number of firms per strata was not divisible by 3, the remaining firms (misfits) were allocated randomly to treatment or control groups within each strata.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Computer randomisation, stratified by gender and sector (see above), using Stata.
Randomization Unit
Firm
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
4847 firms
Sample size: planned number of observations
4847 firms
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Treatment Arm 1 (child-care message): 1615 firms
Treatment Arm 2 (female export entrepreneur encouragement message): 1617 firms
Control Group (neutral message): 1615 firms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
see pre-Analysis plan (available from authors upon request).
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

There are documents in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access to this information.

Request Information