NEW UPDATE: Completed trials may now upload and register supplementary documents (e.g. null results reports, populated pre-analysis plans, or post-trial results reports) in the Post Trial section under Reports, Papers, & Other Materials.
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


Trial Information
General Information
Selection and Incentive Effects of Financial and Career Incentives on Labor Productivity: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Malawi
Initial registration date
April 11, 2016
Last updated
April 11, 2016 12:54 PM EDT
Primary Investigator
Cornell University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Yonsei University
PI Affiliation
Singapore Management University
Additional Trial Information
On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
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
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 et al. 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. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1170/history/7633.
Sponsors & Partners

There are documents in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access to this information.

Request Information
Experimental Details
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
Intervention End Date
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
Was the treatment clustered?
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 Name
Institutional Review Board, Cornell University
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Name
Office of Research Integrity and Assurance, Singapore Management University
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)