Combatting Caste based Discrimination in the Education Sector

Last registered on December 03, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Combatting Caste based Discrimination in the Education Sector
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008654
Initial registration date
December 02, 2021
Last updated
December 03, 2021, 10:33 PM EST

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Monash University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Nottingham University
PI Affiliation
Goethe University

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2021-12-02
End date
2022-02-28
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
There are sizable gaps on indicators of human capital between the caste groups in India. Evidence suggests that such gaps, in part at least, are affected by discriminatory attitudes of school teachers. Our field experiment intends to provide evidence on how negative caste attitudes can be tempered to positively affect behavior of public service providers. We conduct a field experiment with an intended sample of ~500 teachers across India. We design and implement two treatments to mitigate discriminatory attitudes, the first, that demonstrates using illustrative cases the occupation success of individuals from lower ranked caste groups, and second, a short video clip intended to generate empathy towards lower ranked caste groups. We assess the effect of these treatments on two outcomes : (i) a measure of discrimination in grading by teachers; and (ii) donation decisions for NGOs associated with promoting welfare of particular caste groups. To further understand the channels through which treatment affects the outcomes, we measure attitudes along six dimensions, namely, (i) ritual practices regarding untouchability; (ii) perceived differences in cognitive; and (iii) non-cognitive abilities among children from different caste groups; (iv) ascription to caste-based occupational hierarchies; (v) attitudes towards the use of caste slur and (vi) sub-conscious caste bias. We expect that more negative attitudes are associated with greater discrimination in grading and lower donation to NGOs associated with welfare of lower ranked caste groups.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Ramachandran, Rajesh, Devesh Rustagi and Emilia Soldani. 2021. "Combatting Caste based Discrimination in the Education Sector." AEA RCT Registry. December 03. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8654-1.0
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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The field experiment will be conducted on an intended sample of ~500 primary school teachers from several states in India.
Intervention Start Date
2021-12-02
Intervention End Date
2021-12-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
We have two sets of primary outcomes:

Teachers’ behavior in two tasks: (i) bias in grading exams attributed to SC and GC students, where the objective quality of the exams is experimentally engineered; and (ii) donations to NGO’s promoting welfare of caste groups.

Measures of teachers’ attitudes towards SC individuals. We collect six intertwined and complementary measures: (i) willingness to forego monetary payoff to avoid supporting initiatives to employ more SCs in the capacity of cooks in schools; (ii) perceptions of gaps in cognitive outcomes between primary school children from scheduled caste (SC) and general category (GC); (iii) differences in perceived perseverance of SC and GC primary school children; (iv) associations between castes and work occupations; v) attitudes towards the use of caste slur; and vi) caste-based implicit association test scores
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Teachers’ behavior:
(i) Bias in grading exams – teachers are provided exams to grade where quality is either held constant or made to vary by the experimenter and the caste identity is exogenously assigned. For instance, teachers will be provided exams which contain the following combinations: (i) identical quality with different caste names; (ii) high quality exam assigned to high caste name; and (iii) high quality exam assigned to low caste name. These combinations will also help us evaluate whether biases become stronger when perceived traditional hierarchies are overturned as represented in case.
(ii) Donation to NGO’s promoting the welfare of caste groups – at the end of the experiment teachers are asked whether they wish to donate any amount out of their show-up fee to a charity promoting the educational success of Brahmins (high ranked caste group) or SCs.
Measures of caste-based attitudes on six dimensions:
(i) Willingness to forego monetary payoff to avoid supporting initiatives to employ more SCs in the capacity of cooks in schools – this involves an incentivized decision by teachers about whether they hypothetically support an initiative that would hire SC as cooks for preparing meals served to school children as part of the mid-day meal scheme. The incentives are structured such that higher levels of support for such an initiative result in higher monetary payoffs.
(ii) Perception of cognitive outcomes on vocabulary and cognitive tests for primary school children from SC and GC – teachers are told the scores that 5 year old children from the GC achieved in vocabulary and cognitive tests conducted by the Young Lives Project. Then, they are asked to provide their incentivized guess for the scores achieved in the same tests by SC children of the same age.
(iii) Perception of perseverance among primary school children from SC and GC – teachers are asked to provide their estimates on how likely three students (caste identifiable by name) are to finish a new school activity that requires them getting up early and donating half-an-hour of their free time at least three days in a week. This question is not incentivized.
(iv) Assignment of individuals to occupations traditionally associated with castes – we ask teachers to assign each of five individuals to one of five occupations which have a clear socioeconomic hierarchy, as well as association with caste based occupations. The individuals are described as having the same level of education and diligence, and their caste is clearly identifiable from their assigned names. This question is not incentivized.
(v) Attitudes towards the use of caste slur: teachers are presented with a text describing an event in which a SC individual is addressed with a derogatory caste-slur. Teachers are asked to select one among several given options to best describe the event. One of these options describes the event as discriminatory, because of the use of caste-slur. This question is not incentivized.
(vi) Caste-based implicit association test scores – these are standard implicit association tests, using caste as the identity marker to measure implicit caste-bias.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
We also intend to look at whether negative attitudes are relevant when considering the domain of gender. We hence also collect data on two gender related attitudes:
(i) Willingness to allow food menstruating women to cook for their family – this involves an incentivized decision by teachers about whether they hypothetically agree to allow women in their family who are menstruating to be able to work in their kitchen. Giving assent gives the teacher a positive monetary payoff, thus refusal to allow women in their family suggests a psychological cost for breaking gender-based norm related to taboos of menstruation.
(ii) Perception of cognitive outcomes on vocabulary and cognitive tests for primary school girls and boys – teachers are asked to provide incentivized guess about the scores of 5-year-old girls in a vocabulary and cognitive test when provided with the scores that boys achieved in the same assessment, conducted by the Young Lives Project.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The treatments are designed to mitigate widely held views among GC teachers. We refer to the two treatments as the success story treatment and empathy treatment.

Accordingly, our experiment incorporates two specific treatments and intends to measure their impact on the set of primary outcomes outlined above.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Subjects are randomized into one of the two treatments – success or empathy treatment. The randomization is done using a computer.
Randomization Unit
The unit of randomization is the individual subject who participated in the experiment.
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Around ~500 Teachers
Sample size: planned number of observations
Around ~500 Teachers
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
30% Success Video Treatment; 30% Empathy Treatment; 40% Control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Goethe University
IRB Approval Date
2019-02-18
IRB Approval Number
N/A