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Selection and Incentive Effects of Financial and Career Incentives on Labor Productivity: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Malawi
Last registered on April 11, 2016

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Selection and Incentive Effects of Financial and Career Incentives on Labor Productivity: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Malawi
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0001170
Initial registration date
April 11, 2016
Last updated
April 11, 2016 12:54 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Cornell University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Yonsei University
PI Affiliation
Singapore Management University
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2014-12-01
End date
2016-08-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This study analyzes how financial and career incentive schemes affect labor productivity differently through worker selection and incentive channels. It is difficult to establish a causal relationship between work incentives and worker productivity because of the self-selection based on job seekers’ ability, expectation, personality, etc. We overcome this challenge through a two-stage randomized controlled trial in which our collaborating NGO recruits male enumerators for a population census of a rural district in Malawi. We make an important contribution to the literature by analyzing what types of workers internships attract (selection effect) and how they incentivize workers to improve their job performance (incentive effect).
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Kim, Thomas, Seonghoon Kim and Hyuncheol Kim. 2016. "Selection and Incentive Effects of Financial and Career Incentives on Labor Productivity: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Malawi." AEA RCT Registry. April 11. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1170-4.0.
Former Citation
Kim, Thomas, Seonghoon Kim and Hyuncheol Kim. 2016. "Selection and Incentive Effects of Financial and Career Incentives on Labor Productivity: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Malawi." AEA RCT Registry. April 11. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1170/history/7633.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
1) Financial Incentive, a fixed salary of 500 MWK a day (466 MWK = $1).
2) Career Incentives which consist of prospect of job opportunity at the collaborating NGO as a regular staff member and recommendation letter.
Intervention Start Date
2014-12-01
Intervention End Date
2015-01-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. During the training.
Quiz score and mock survey accuracy.

2. In the field (during the census survey)
Survey accuracy, survey speed, customer satisfaction, and work attitude measured by supervisor.

3. Longer term labor market outcome
Employment status and wage
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Training performance is measured by a test score of the short quiz, which consists of 12 questions on the census survey procedures, and erroneous entries in the mock survey.

Labor productivity of enumerators during the census survey period is measured in multiple dimensions. First, survey speed of an enumerator is measured by the number of households he surveyed per day. Second, we measure survey accuracy by calculating the proportion of systematically inconsistent or incorrect entries. Third, customer satisfaction is measured by post-enumeration survey. Fourth, work attitude is evaluated by randomly assigned supervisors who visited enumerators without prior notice regarding their professional attitude toward respondents and supervisors.

Lastly, we plan to measure longer term labor market outcomes such as employment status and wage.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We implement a novel two-stage randomized controlled trial in the context of the recruitment, training, and survey processes of enumerators in collaboration with a local NGO in Malawi. In the first stage, 536 study subjects randomly receive one of the following three options: a job offer with a financial incentive (a one-time work opportunity with a daily market wage), a job offer with career incentives (a recommendation letter specifying job performance and a potential job opportunity at the collaborating NGO), and no job offer. In the second stage, for those who agree to work, we provide the same financial incentive to a randomly selected half of the career incentive group and the same career incentives to a randomly selected half of the financial incentive group. This two-stage randomization allows us to obtain two sub-groups with both financial and career incentives during enumeration work, with different channels of attraction to the job. Moreover, we can isolate the causal effects of career and financial incentives on labor productivity.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
536 men
Sample size: planned number of observations
536 men
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
220 men in the internship group (career incentive), 220 men in the wage group (financial incentive), and 96 men in the control.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Institutional Review Board, Cornell University
IRB Approval Date
2015-08-04
IRB Approval Number
RB-15-037-A050(815)
IRB Name
Office of Research Integrity and Assurance, Singapore Management University
IRB Approval Date
2015-09-10
IRB Approval Number
1508005771
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers