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Beliefs, Information and the Education Plans of Middle School Children in the Dominican Republic
Last registered on December 14, 2015

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Beliefs, Information and the Education Plans of Middle School Children in the Dominican Republic
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0000943
Initial registration date
November 24, 2015
Last updated
December 14, 2015 9:59 PM EST
Location(s)
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Cornell University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Barna Business School
PI Affiliation
Princeton University
PI Affiliation
Ohio State University
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2014-12-01
End date
2016-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This study evaluates the effectiveness of provision of information on wages at different education levels to 7th and 8th grade students in the Dominican Republic. The main part of the trial is a large-scale evaluation of two interventions that present such information in middle school classrooms. The 2015 intervention includes 600 public middle schools across the country. The two interventions were developed and implemented in partnership with the Dominican Ministry of Education. The base intervention consists of four 15-minute videos in a “telenovela” format in which the characters discuss the qualitative benefits of additional schooling. The second intervention adds additional segments that provide information on wage averages and distributions at different levels of schooling, allowing us to isolate the impact of providing quantitative information on the returns to schooling. Our primary outcome is school enrollment in the years following the interventions. We also conduct a series of surveys covering 43,000 students to measure beliefs of the returns to education, the feasibility of different educational options, and students’ educational plans.

A second part of the study involves providing information on wages and education at an individual level on tablet computers. In addition to the information provision, we conduct in-depth surveys to elicit more detail on beliefs of the returns to schooling and educational plans. Separate treatment arms provide information and conduct surveys with students or parents.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Berry, James et al. 2015. "Beliefs, Information and the Education Plans of Middle School Children in the Dominican Republic." AEA RCT Registry. December 14. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.943-2.0.
Former Citation
Berry, James et al. 2015. "Beliefs, Information and the Education Plans of Middle School Children in the Dominican Republic." AEA RCT Registry. December 14. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/943/history/6289.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
There are two parts to this study: a "Policy Pilot" in which videos are shown in 7th and 8th grade classrooms in a given school, and an "individual treatment" sample in which short informative videos are shown and in-depth surveys are conducted individually with students and their parents.

Policy Pilot

The policy pilot consists of two sets of four videos that were shown to 7th and 8th grade students in spring 2015. The four videos, each approximately 15 minutes long, tell a story of several characters in 8th grade considering their future educational choices. Each video contains an “infographic” describing in more detail the potential benefits to obtaining a higher level of education. Across the two sets of videos, the infographics differ by their information content. The “informative” infographics contain detailed statistics on income levels and distributions by level of education, potential non-monetary benefits to education, and scholarships for higher education. The “persuasive” infographics contain qualitative information on income differences by level of education, scholarships, and non-monetary benefits, but do not include detailed statistics.

In addition to the videos, posters were distributed to be displayed in the classrooms. Along the same lines as the infographics, persuasive and informative posters were designed to either emphasize the benefits of schooling qualitatively, or provide average earnings information for different schooling levels. The informative poster was further split into two types, one that contained earnings information for men, and another that contained earnings information for women.

Individual Treatments

The individual treatments were designed to provide more detailed tests the effects of providing earnings information and distributions at different levels of education. Students or parents were randomly selected to be provided with the informative infographic that describes earnings averages and distributions at each level of education. Earnings of either men or women were provided based on the gender of the student.
Intervention Start Date
2015-04-14
Intervention End Date
2016-05-15
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Primary:
Enrollment

Secondary
Test scores and test participation
Survey-based secondary outcomes
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The primary outcome variable for the 2015 interventions will be enrollment in the 2015-2016 school year. Enrollment will be determined through "matriculas" data obtained from the Ministry of Education in the years following the study.

The key secondary outcome variable will be the student’s scores on the national Pruebas Nacionales exam taken in 8th grade. We will also measure impacts on participation in the Pruebas Nacionales exam. Based on the school and individual surveys, we plan on analyzing treatment effects on a number of intermediate outcomes. These outcomes include beliefs of average earnings and the distribution of earnings, expected self earnings and the distribution of self earnings, educational aspirations and plans, and time use. The exact set of secondary outcomes to be analyzed and the form of the analysis will be informed by the primary impact analysis
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
2015 Design

Policy Pilot

Six hundred schools were randomly selected from the universe of public upper primary schools in the Dominican Republic. These 600 schools were then randomly assigned to one of three groups:
T1: Persuasive videos (200 schools)
T2: Informative videos (200 schools)
C: No videos (200 schools)

Randomization was conducted by grouping schools into rural/urban status and region (north, southeast, and southwest). Within each of these 6 groups, one school was randomly selected. Based on the predicted dropout rate of that school, two additional schools with the closest predicted dropout within the group were selected. Randomization into T1, T2, and C groups was conducted within these triplets.
The type of informative poster (either men’s or women’s earnings information) was randomly assigned across the 200 schools in T2.

Individual Treatments
250 schools were randomly selected to be included in the individual treatments:
T1: 50 schools
T2: 50 schools
C: 50 schools
Other public schools: 50 schools
Other private schools: 50 schools

Within each selected school, up to 28 students were selected to be included in the individual treatments. Among these students, the first 12 appearing on the roster were selected to be visited at home to have surveys and/or information provided to parents. These 12 were randomly assigned as follows:

P1: 4 students: information for parent
P2: 4 students: information for student
P3: 4 students: surveys only

For the remaining 16 students, surveys were conducted with the students only. Of these, half were assigned to receive information:

S1: 8 students: information for student
S2: 8 students: surveys only
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Policy pilot schools and classrooms: Randomization using Matlab
Individual treatments: Randomization using Stata based on school roster number
Randomization Unit
Policy pilot: School
Individual treatments: Individual student
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Policy Pilot: 600 schools
Individual treatments: 7000 households (student, parent, or both)
Sample size: planned number of observations
43,000 students; 3,000 parents
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Policy Pilot:

T1: Persuasive videos (200 schools)
T2: Informative videos (200 schools)
C: No videos (200 schools)

Individual Treatments:
P1: 1000 students
P2: 1000 students
P3: 1000 students

S1: 2000 students
S2: 2000 students
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Cornell University
IRB Approval Date
2014-11-25
IRB Approval Number
1411005152
Analysis Plan

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Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers