The Role of Information and Networks in Migration

Last registered on June 01, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

The Role of Information and Networks in Migration
Initial registration date
September 11, 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
September 19, 2022, 3:04 PM EDT

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

Last updated
June 01, 2023, 5:05 PM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator

University of Rochester

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation
Center for Global Development

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
We study the importance of information and network frictions facing potential rural-urban migrants in Kenya using a cluster-randomized trial with a representative set of households across 5 Kenyan counties. Pre-experimental work shows that rural workers' beliefs about income in the largest Kenyan city, Nairobi, are severely downward biased on average, and that many potential migrants have limited or no social connections in Nairobi. Given the importance of social networks in forming beliefs, assisting with job search, and providing localized information, it is possible that limited information and weak networks act as a barrier to migration.

Our information intervention provides detailed information about earnings in Nairobi. Our ``group'' and ``guide'' interventions supplement this information by attempting to leverage origin and destination social networks, respectively, to facilitate migration. Our ``group'' intervention presents the same information in a group setting, and encourages villagers to share information with each other about Nairobi, discuss their plans to migrate in the future, and potentially coordinate their trips. Our ``guide'' intervention pairs prospective migrants with established local residents in Nairobi, who talk with them over the phone or in person to share information about the city. In some villages receiving information about Nairobi, we survey both treated and untreated households, allowing us to study the determinants of information diffusion through social networks.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Barnett-Howell, Zachary, Travis Baseler and Thomas Ginn. 2023. "The Role of Information and Networks in Migration." AEA RCT Registry. June 01.
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Experimental Details


Control. Households in these villages are surveyed, but do not receive any treatment.

Information. Sampled households in these villages received a detailed information sheet about earnings in Nairobi. When they received the sheet, they also heard a detailed script read by the enumerator explaining where the information on the sheet came from and how to interpret it.

Spillover. A random two-thirds of sampled households in these villages was given the information sheet and script, as described above. The remaining one-third was surveyed, but not given any information.

Group Information. Sampled households in these villages were invited to a group presentation where they received the same information (sheet+script) as the ``Information'' households. Our project staff then facilitated group discussions about migrating to Nairobi by inviting prior migrants to describe their experiences and take questions, and breaking attendees into small groups to discuss migrating as well as potentially coordinating trips.

Guide + Information. Sampled households in these villages were given the same information as in the ``Information'' villages, and were given an offer to be paired with an experienced resident in Nairobi who agreed to serve as a local guide. We identified local residents who are established in Nairobi and fit the profile desired by the migrant (for example, having experience in the occupation the migrant wants to work in). The guides offered to speak with the prospective migrants over the phone prior to migrating, or meet them in Nairobi once they arrive.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
See PAP.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
See PAP.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
See PAP.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
See PAP.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Administrative areas of Kenya are divided into counties, sub-counties, divisions, locations, and sub-locations. Our sample was selected from 5 counties in three stages using data provided by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. We randomly select sub-locations from the universe of sub-locations in our 5 study counties, after excluding sub-locations in the bottom 5% or top 10% of the county-specific density distribution (population per square kilometer). We then randomly select one enumeration area (essentially, a village) within each sampled sub-location, after excluding villages with fewer than 50 households. We then randomly select approximately 30 households per village to form our experimental sample. Households were randomly chosen from an exhaustive list of households in each village which we collected prior to the experiment with the assistance of village leaders. We stratify selection by intended migration, oversampling households who report that they might send a migrant to a city within the next year.

Treatment to Control, Information, Spillover, Group Information, or Guide + Information was assigned at the village level, stratifying by county, the share of households in each village intending to migrate to Nairobi, and average village income. In villages assigned to Spillover, a simple random 2/3 of the household sample was assigned to receive information, while the remaining 1/3 was assigned to receive no information.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Done in office by computer.
Randomization Unit
Village and household
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
560 villages
Sample size: planned number of observations
Approx. 16,800 households
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Control: 116, Info: 172, Spillover: 88, Group: 64, Guide: 120
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Rochester Research Subjects Review Board
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Name
Maseno University Ethics Review Committee
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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