Information Asymmetry in Job Search

Last registered on August 03, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Information Asymmetry in Job Search
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0009782
Initial registration date
July 27, 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
August 03, 2022, 1:55 PM EDT

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

Locations

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Columbia University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
UC Berkeley

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2022-08-15
End date
2023-05-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
Wage gaps across race and gender persist among equally educated individuals, and have been attributed in significant part to differences in behavior during job search. Economic theory suggests that access to information about the labor market influences behavior. If information differs across groups, either in quantity or quality, this can lead to differences in job choice. Across race and gender, unequal access to networks and mentoring has been shown to give rise to these information gaps. To test whether access to information contributes to different job search outcomes, the project will conduct an information intervention experiment to assess first whether students of different races and genders have differential information about the labor market. The project will further explore whether an information intervention could change their job search behavior and help bridge the gap in wages. The project will have potential policy implications in considering information intervention as a low-cost process for decreasing gender and racial wage gaps.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Jiang, Michelle and Kai Zen. 2022. "Information Asymmetry in Job Search." AEA RCT Registry. August 03. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.9782
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Students in their senior year of college will receive a survey inviting them to participate in a study. If they agree, those randomly sorted into the treatment group will receive salary information that the control group will not. We will study the impact of the information intervention on job search outcomes by observing differences between the treatment and control group.
Intervention Start Date
2022-08-15
Intervention End Date
2023-05-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our primary outcome is students' accepted salary offer; the ultimate goal of the project is to see if an information intervention can narrow demographic wage gaps.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We will measure final job outcomes as follows: students' final job base salary, salary including bonus, negotiation behavior, non-wage amenities provided in job, and location of job. We will also measure final job satisfaction via how students' believe their final salary compares to other students in their graduating year and in their school or major.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
To account for mechanisms that would influence our primary outcome, we detail two additional sets of outcomes to measure: (1) initial post-treatment beliefs, salience, and job search effort, and (2) post-job search beliefs and application behavior.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
1. Initial post-treatment beliefs, salience, and job search effort
- Initial post-treatment beliefs: We will measure if the treatment group internalizes the information, and changes their beliefs on salary median, 25th percentile, and 75th percentile.
- Salience and job search effort: We will measure if the treatment group says they are more likely to sign up for a career counseling meeting, and if they actually sign up for a career counseling meeting. This is meant to measure if students exert more effort in job search after seeing the infographic. We will also measure if those who signed up for a career counseling meeting attended a career counseling meeting before the end of job search.
- Salience and job search effort version 2: We will measure if the treatment group says they are more likely to sign up for email reminders. This is meant to measure if students exert more effort in job search after seeing the infographic. We will also measure if those who signed up for reminder emails opened the emails.

2. Post-job-search beliefs and application behavior
- Post-job-search beliefs: We will measure student beliefs on the median, 25th percentile, and 75th percentile of their major's salary in the second survey. Because the second survey occurs after job search, this measures whether or not the treatment group remembered the information, and also whether or not the control group eventually attained information about true salary distributions during job search.
- Application behavior: Which group had more applications, more interviews, and more offers? Which group rejected more offers? How long did students take to accept an offer?
- Search behavior: How did students behave on search? Did they seek out more information on typical salaries? Did they target a certain salary?

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
To test whether information access contributes to different job search outcomes, our project will (1) conduct an information intervention experiment to assess first whether students of different races and genders have different information about the labor market, and (2) study whether an information intervention could change their job search behavior and help bridge the gap in wages.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
We will use stratified randomization across gender, race, and major. Randomization will be done within Qualtrics. Qualtrics software allows the randomization to occur after students have answered demographic questions on the survey, ensuring that stratified randomization occurs even if there is selection regarding who responds to original survey invitation.
Randomization Unit
Randomization occurs at the individual level.
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
N/A
Sample size: planned number of observations
We aim to enroll any adult undergraduate student over the age of 18 who is in their graduating year at UC Berkeley. The screening/assessment procedures will focus on whether the participant is graduating or not - only eligible participants can continue with the survey and be compensated. The maximum number of subjects is the maximum number of these individuals, which in 2020-21 was 9,024 according to the Berkeley Office of Planning and Analysis. This number for the relevant school year, 2022-2023, is likely to be similar. However, as we do not yet know response rates for our survey, we do not currently have a final observation number.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
We have one treatment arm: approximately half the sample will be randomized into treatment, and the other half into control.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
UC Berkeley Office for Protection of Human Subjects
IRB Approval Date
2022-04-18
IRB Approval Number
CPHS 2021-10-14766
IRB Name
Columbia University Human Research Protection Office
IRB Approval Date
2021-07-07
IRB Approval Number
IRB-AAAT5934
Analysis Plan

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