The Gender (Dis)comfort Gap: the Effects of Gender on Everyday Interactions

Last registered on June 15, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
The Gender (Dis)comfort Gap: the Effects of Gender on Everyday Interactions
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0009593
Initial registration date
June 14, 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 15, 2022, 10:00 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
Stanford University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Stanford University
PI Affiliation
Yale University

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2021-09-01
End date
2023-08-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
How (un)comfortable are inter-gender interactions in Muslim societies? A gender gap in economic and political integration persists in many parts of the Muslim world, yet interpersonal contact across gender lines as a driver of these gaps — as well as a potential remedy — has not been systematically studied.

This project has three goals. We propose an RCT that will first establish descriptive statistics about the prevalence of one particularly restrictive gender norm – the norm against unrelated men and women speaking to each other. This norm is thought to prevent women from participating in public spaces and the labor force, yet we lack basic facts about its prevalence. Second, we will experimentally test two mechanisms that plausibly drive this norm — concerns about women’s safety, and notions of “purity” — directly against each other. Finally, we will then explore a second RCT to erode this norm. Focusing on the workplace arrangement of gender segregation, we will explore the possibility of randomizing contact via gender-integrated vs. segregated workplace teams to study impacts on gender-progressive attitudes and behaviors concerning women’s economic integration, women’s safety, and notions of purity.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Dillon, Andrea, Saad Gulzar and Salma Mousa. 2022. "The Gender (Dis)comfort Gap: the Effects of Gender on Everyday Interactions." AEA RCT Registry. June 15. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.9593
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The study aims to establish how gender shapes everyday interactions globally. We evaluate the impact of the three behavioral interventions, which include (i) a confederate asking the pedestrians for simple directions, (ii) a confederate dropping groceries near the pedestrians, and (iii) a confederate borrowing a cellphone from a pedestrian. The procedure allows us to quantify the inter-gender (dis)comfort gap in different types of interactions, as well as two different types of causal effects: (1) the effects of a stranger’s gender on an individual’s trust, (2) the effects of the costliness of the interaction – ranging from low cost (responding to a request for directions when asked) to high cost (going out of one’s way to help pick up groceries or lending one’s cellphone). We randomize both of these elements (the confederate’s gender, and the interaction type), allowing for the estimation of causal effects. Our goal is to run this experiment in several countries across the world to document the prevalence of the broader phenomenon of (dis)comfort with inter-gender interactions.
Intervention Start Date
2022-07-01
Intervention End Date
2023-08-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The study estimates the causal effects of everyday contact with individuals from different genders. The study consists of three treatment arms.

First, we randomize whether the confederate is female or male. Second, we then randomize the interaction – the subject will either be asked for directions or a cellphone, or the confederate will drop groceries on the street, in view of several pedestrians. Third – and this treatment arm applies only to the asking-for-directions and borrowing cellphone experiments – we randomize whether the subject chosen for the experiment is female or male. Note that we do not randomize the gender identity of the subjects in the groceries experiment, as all pedestrians close enough to observe the groceries being dropped are considered subjects.

A nearby confederate then documents the pedestrians’ comfort level via outcomes such as whether the pedestrian acknowledged the confederate, stopped to engage or walk away, and attempted to give directions / help with groceries / lend their cellphones or not.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The study estimates the causal effects of everyday contact with individuals from different genders. The study consists of three treatment arms.

First, we randomize whether the confederate is female or male. Second, we then randomize the interaction – the subject will either be asked for directions or a cellphone, or the confederate will drop groceries on the street, in view of several pedestrians. Third – and this treatment arm applies only to the asking-for-directions and borrowing cellphone experiments – we randomize whether the subject chosen for the experiment is female or male. Note that we do not randomize the gender identity of the subjects in the groceries experiment, as all pedestrians close enough to observe the groceries being dropped are considered subjects.

A nearby confederate then documents the pedestrians’ comfort level via outcomes such as whether the pedestrian acknowledged the confederate, stopped to engage or walk away, and attempted to give directions / help with groceries / lend their cellphones or not.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done by coin flip.
Randomization Unit
The research staff alternates between selecting male and female subjects, and conditional on this selection, alternates between whether the female or male confederate approaches the subject. On certain days of the week, 3 – 4 additional confederates will populate the street, in order to test the role of social monitoring on the outcomes. Finally, the research staff will alternate between two experiments (asking for directions and dropping groceries) throughout the week. For instance, the confederates will run the directions experiment for one day, followed by two days of the groceries experiment. As an exploratory analysis, we will also alternate how the confederates are dressed (more formally or less formally).
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Minimum of 3,000 subjects per city.
Sample size: planned number of observations
Minimum of 3,000 subjects per city.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1,000 subjects per experiment, with 3 experiments run in each city.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
YALE UNIVERSITY INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD
IRB Approval Date
2021-12-10
IRB Approval Number
2000031032
IRB Name
Stanford University Institutional Review Board (Reliance Agreement)
IRB Approval Date
2022-02-02
IRB Approval Number
64243