We Don’t Talk About Boys: An Experiment on Masculinity Norms in Brazil

Last registered on June 06, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
We Don’t Talk About Boys: An Experiment on Masculinity Norms in Brazil
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0009508
Initial registration date
June 02, 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
June 06, 2022, 5:15 AM EDT

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

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
UBC

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2022-06-15
End date
2023-04-30
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
Social norms are sometimes misperceived, which has consequences for important
economic outcomes. However, little is known about why misperceptions exist in the first place. This project
focuses on the role of communication in shaping misperceptions, which I study in the context of masculinity
norms among 7th to 9th graders in urban Brazil, in collaboration with the Secretariat of Education of the
City of Rio. The study assigns treatment children to discussion groups to learn peers’ opinions about two
traditional beliefs about masculinity: men who cry are weak and men should use violence to get respect if necessary. To further investigate different types of communicators, half of treatment discussion groups allow children to volunteer to speak (vocal group) and half of treatment discussion groups randomly pre-select students to be invited to share (representative group). Control discussion groups focus on a masculinity-neutral topic (recycling).
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Matavelli, Ieda. 2022. "We Don’t Talk About Boys: An Experiment on Masculinity Norms in Brazil." AEA RCT Registry. June 06. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.9508
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2022-06-15
Intervention End Date
2022-09-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Measured Immediately After Treatment
- Misperceptions with respect to two beliefs about masculinity: Men Who Cry Are Weak and Men Should Use Violence to Get Respect if Necessary
- Social image concerns with respect to self-reports on the last time they cried and the last time they initiated a physical fight, and antisocial behavior, measured by a form of the Joy of Destruction Game

Measured About 3 Weeks After Treatment
- Misperceptions with respect to two beliefs about masculinity: Men Who Cry Are Weak and Men Should Use Violence to Get Respect if Necessary
- Peer reports on aggressive behaviors, conflict resolution, emotion-sharing, and respect towards girls
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Misperceptions are defined as the difference, in percentage points, between students' prediction of the percentage of boys and girls in their school classroom they think agree with the statements Men Who Cry Are Weak and Men Should Use Violence to Get Respect if Necessary and the actual percentage of boys and girls who agree with each statement.

To estimate social image concerns, participants’ answers to the endline survey are randomized to a private (Your answers will not be discussed with the other people in this room) or a public (Your answers might be discussed with the other people in this room) arm.

For the peer reports, participants will be asked to indicate whether their male' peers have 1) Used inappropriate language, 2) Committed any form of physical aggression, 3) Helped to resolve conflicts in a non-violent way, 4) Showed to be a sensitive person, and 5) Been respectful towards girls.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Measured Immediately After Treatment
- First-order beliefs about Men Who Cry Are Weak and Men Should Use Violence to Get Respect if Necessary (unlikely to be affected)
- Social acceptance of crying and acting violently, illustrated by 3 vignettes

Measured About 3 Weeks After Treatment
- First-order beliefs about Men Who Cry Are Weak and Men Should Use Violence to Get Respect if Necessary
- Self-reported behaviors about whether have participated in a physical fight, have cried in front of someone, have had a deep conversation with a friend
- Instagram post about "positive" masculinity
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
The vignettes describe 3 situations. First, a boy who punches a classmate after he refused to lend him a pen. Second, a sensitive boy who prefers to withhold his emotions to avoid being judged by his friends. Third, a girl who refuses to date a sensitive boy. I then ask whether the participant 1) would act the same way as the vignette's character, 2) think the character acted in a correct way and 3) how socially acceptable is the character's behavior at their school.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
For each participating school and classroom:

1) Classes are randomly split into three groups:

Masculinity Vocal (Treatment 1) X Recycling (Control)
Masculinity Representative (Treatment 2) X Recycling (Control)
Masculinity Vocal (Treatment 1) X Representative (Treatment 2)

2) Within classrooms, students are randomized into one of the groups Masculinity Vocal (Treatment 1), Masculinity Representative (Treatment 2), and Recycling (Control).

The intervention consists of a ≈20 minutes discussion about Masculinity (treatment group) or Recycling practices (control group). Masculinity groups are further split into two types of discussion. In the first, referred to as Masculinity Vocal, subjects are asked to voluntarily speak during their session. In the second, called Masculinity Representative, subjects are drawn ex-ante and called to speak in random order.

Randomization is stratified by sex, and it takes place ex-ante, based on the student list sent by the school Principal.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Classrooms, students
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
80-100 classrooms
Sample size: planned number of observations
2,000-2,500 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Rough sample size*:
700 students in Masculinity Vocal
700 students in Masculinity Representative
700 students in Control

*The sample size will depend on students' attendance on the day the study takes place and on the number of students who consented to participate.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Insper Research Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
2022-02-08
IRB Approval Number
213/2022