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Urban Under-Exploration

Last registered on April 13, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Urban Under-Exploration
Initial registration date
April 07, 2023

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
April 13, 2023, 3:55 PM EDT

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

Last updated
April 13, 2023, 6:10 PM EDT

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


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Primary Investigator

Harvard University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Chicago
PI Affiliation
Harvard University

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Despite living in high-density cities, low-income job seekers might only be familiar with a small number of urban locations. We will use a field experiment in Nairobi, Kenya to document how exploration frictions may limit the potential benefits of cities. Residents of informal settlements in Nairobi have never been to many neighborhoods near their homes; on average a respondent has not been to 1 in 3 of the neighborhoods within the distance that they travel for work. Additionally, respondents are reluctant to travel to neighborhoods they have not been to previously; conditional on neighborhood fixed effects, respondents must be paid more in order to accept work in an unfamiliar location. Through our experiment, we will test whether certain behavioral biases amplify this effect. We will then test whether inducing familiarity with neighborhoods reduces the familiarity premium and increases demand for job search in previously unfamiliar, but known, locations.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Dean, Joshua , Gabriel Kreindler and Oluchi Mbonu. 2023. "Urban Under-Exploration." AEA RCT Registry. April 13.
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
familiarity premium, job search locations
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We will measure how much more participants need to be paid to travel to an unfamiliar neighborhood and whether this premium is reduced by our intervention. We will also measure whether our intervention changes where participants search for work.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Workers in Nairobi, Kenya will be recruited to participate in the program. All participants will be offered paid opportunities in a set of neighborhoods across Nairobi, including both familiar and unfamiliar neighborhoods. We will estimate the familiarity premium and test whether certain behavioral biases may amplify this effect.

Participants will be randomly assigned to treatment and control groups, where treated participants will be accompanied to an unfamiliar neighborhood and control participants will be accompanied to an already familiar neighborhood.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
1000 individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
1000 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
500 treated, 500 control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
The Committee on the Use of Human Subjects (CUHS)
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB00000109; FWA00004837