Social Norms and Women’s Job Preferences in Saudi Arabia

Last registered on February 25, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Social Norms and Women’s Job Preferences in Saudi Arabia
Initial registration date
May 08, 2022

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
May 09, 2022, 8:23 PM EDT

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

Last updated
February 25, 2023, 8:34 PM EST

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



Primary Investigator

University of Southern California

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
In some cultures, the decision for young women to join the labor force comes with highly perceived social costs. With traditional gender roles being dominant in these contexts, young women carefully consider their marriage outcomes when making such high stakes decisions. In Saudi Arabia, we provide senior undergraduate women with information on men’s marriage preferences and how acceptable they find it for their wives to work. We try to understand the salience of this social norm and the effect of updating young women’s perceptions of what is socially acceptable to observe their attitudes and behaviors towards employment. We also aim to elicit these women’s job preferences through an incentivized choice experiment that provides them with real job vacancies and observe their employment outcomes.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

AlRakhis, Monira. 2023. "Social Norms and Women’s Job Preferences in Saudi Arabia." AEA RCT Registry. February 25.
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Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
1) Aspirations: likelihood of applying for a job

2) Elicited job preferences - valuation of the following non-wage characteristics: segregated workplace, part-time job, option to work from home, option to extend paid maternity leave, option for free child care close to workplace

3) Behavioral changes:
- opt in to receive emails from partner organization on new job vacancies (Yes/No), allocation of lottery tickets to EFE assistance in job
- once job vacancies are received (whether as a result of their choices in this survey or later on from subscribing to organization emails):
- number of jobs they applied for
- whether they attended interviews
- were the job offers accepted
- do they apply for any of the organization’s job training programs

4) Follow-up survey outcomes: employed (if yes, characteristics of the job), searched for jobs, number of jobs applied for (characteristics of jobs), married (characteristics of spouse), children

Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
A sample of 1500 senior undergraduate students are randomly assigned into control and treatment groups. The control group has 500 students, treatment groups one and two have 500 students each. At baseline, the students are asked about their demographic characteristics, education and experience, ideal spouse characteristics, and their work plans after graduation. A representative survey of Saudi Arabian men was previously conducted to collect men’s marriage preferences and their attitudes towards their wives/future wives working. All students (treatment and control) are shown the questions that were asked in the men’s survey and are asked to guess what percentage of Saudi Arabian men agreed with these statements. This step is incentivized in order to receive their most accurate perceptions. In the treatment groups, the students are then provided with the actual percentage of men who agreed with the statements. The difference between treatment one and treatment two is the type of statements that are shown. In treatment one, the statements are about men’s acceptability of their wives working in general. In treatment two, in addition to the statements that were provided in treatment one, we show statements about men’s acceptability of their wives working in specific (unconventional) work environments such as non-segregated workplaces and having to drive to work.
For the outcomes, we first ask about their aspirations by asking questions on their likelihood to apply for a job and likelihood for applying for jobs with different characteristics. Then, based on their qualifications and through an incentivized choice experiment, we provide pairs of real job vacancies to choose from in order to elicit their valuation for the following non-wage characteristics: segregated workplace, full-time job, work in office only, options to extend paid maternity leave, option for free child care close to the workplace. We observe if the information provided in the treatment affects the valuation of the treatment groups relative to the control. Lastly, we mention that the organization that we partnered with to provide us with these job vacancies can send them emails whenever they receive new job vacancies and we observe whether they choose to sign up for these emails over a subscription to newsletters and offers from a popular e-commerce website in Saudi Arabia.
For their employment choices, the organization collects data on their behavior throughout the study period. This data includes whether they apply for a job, attend the interview, accept the offer, and if they applied/attended any of the job training programs that the organization provides. Lastly, because the students can also find jobs elsewhere, we administer a follow-up survey 8 months later to ask whether they applied/searched for jobs, are employed (if so, what are the characteristics of the job), and we also ask about their marriage outcomes (if married, what are their spouse characteristics and do they have children).
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
1500 observations if two treatment arms, 1000 observations if treatment arms are pooled.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Control Group (500 students), Treatment Group 1 (500 students), Treatment Group 2 (500 students)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Power calculations were done for a minimum detectable effect of 0.15 for the main outcomes with power = 0.8, alpha = 0.05, and variance = 1.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Southern California
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Name
Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Name
King Saud University
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials