Effects of failure in a high-stakes application procedure on confidence in abilities and willingness to compete

Last registered on June 26, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Effects of failure in a high-stakes application procedure on confidence in abilities and willingness to compete
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0009637
Initial registration date
June 22, 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 26, 2022, 5:26 AM EDT

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

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
WZB Berlin Social Science Center

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
WZB Berlin Social Science Center
PI Affiliation
NYU Abu Dhabi

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2022-06-23
End date
2024-12-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
In this project, we investigate whether the experience of success or failure in a high stakes environment has heterogeneous effects on confidence in abilities and willingness to compete by gender, ability and parental education. Using the central application procedure for study places in the medical fields in Germany, we study how the (non-)assigment of a study place through this procedure influences ability beliefs and the willingness to compete in an application-relevant ability domain. Secondary analyses will focus on the interaction of application outcome and randomized feedback.
We attempt to follow two identification strategies. Our first identification strategy relies on a regression discontinuity design that uses application scores in the three admission quotas as running variable and incentivized survey measures administered after applicants are informed about the outcome of their application as outcomes. Our second identification strategy relies on a difference-in-differences analysis of incentivized survey measures administered before and after applicants are informed.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Fischer, Mira, Dorothea Kuebler and Robert Stueber. 2022. "Effects of failure in a high-stakes application procedure on confidence in abilities and willingness to compete." AEA RCT Registry. June 26. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.9637
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Using the central application procedure for places in the medical fields in Germany, we study how the (non-)assigment of a study place through this procedure influences ability beliefs and the willingness to compete in an application-relevant ability domain. Medical studies are some of the most prestigious study fields in Germany. Each year, only about 1 out of 6 applicants receives a study place.

In particular, we ask the following questions: (i) How does failure (relative to success) in the application procedure influence the willingness to compete in an application-related ability test? (ii) How does failure (relative to success) in the application procedure influence absolute and relative confidence in application-related abilities? (iii) Is there a gender difference in willingness to compete and in confidence? Does failure in the application procedure (relative to success) have heterogeneous effects on the willingness to compete and confidence by gender, ability, and famility background? (iv) Does positive/negative feedback about the ability test have heterogeneous effects on willingness to compete by gender, application success/failure, and the gender–application success/failure interaction?
Intervention Start Date
2022-06-23
Intervention End Date
2022-10-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Competition entry
Absolute confidence: belief about number of correct items
Relative confidence: belief about relative performance
Competition entry after positive, neutral, or negative feedback
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Performance in application-related ability test
Intention to re-apply
Self-reported competitiveness
Self-reported willingness to take risks
Goal setting for medical occupations that differ in their status and gender-dominance
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
About 3850 individuals will be invited to participate in both survey waves before and after learning the outcome of their application for a study place in medical studies and about 3850 will be invited to participate only in the survey wave taking place after learning the outcome. We expect a response rate of about 65% each, amounting to about 2500 individuals in each group. The survey is conducted in cooperation with the Studierendenauswahl-Verbund (stav). They send out invitations to participate in the survey containing individualized links. The polling is managed by the research team and hosted by the WZB Berlin Social Science Center, who collect the data via LimeSurvey. We guarantee full anonymity to our survey participants who answer the survey questions autonomously on their own digital devices. We ask for permission to recontact them and collect their e-mail addresses to do so. We also collect their bank and/or PayPal information to send them the participation rewards. Randomization is carried out using the survey software LimeSurvey at the individual level.

Our experiment is structured as follows:

Subjects will conduct the experiment via an online platform. Subjects will be randomly assigned to one of three feedback groups, and each subject takes decisions in four consecutive stages.

Stage 1: ability test
Stage 2: choice between competition and piece rate
Stage 3: elicitation of confidence in abilities
Stage 4: feedback and opportunity to reverse choice between competition and piece rate
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization is carried out by the survey software LimeSurvey.
Randomization Unit
at the individual level
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
2,500 in wave 1 and 5,000 in wave 2
Sample size: planned number of observations
2,500 in wave 1 and 5,000 in wave 2
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
2,500 adults in wave 1 (5,000 in wave 2) aged 17 years and older, approx. 1/3 will be assigned to each of the three feedback groups.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
WZB Research Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
2022-06-15
IRB Approval Number
2022/6/158