Easing the Transition into Public Housing: Evidence from Hong Kong

Last registered on June 05, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Easing the Transition into Public Housing: Evidence from Hong Kong
Initial registration date
November 03, 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
November 15, 2023, 1:26 PM EST

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

Last updated
June 05, 2024, 1:17 PM EDT

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



Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Pennsylvania
PI Affiliation
Hong Kong University

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
The lack of affordable housing is a common problem in many cities in both rich and poor countries. In many countries, governments own a large share of the housing stock and offer subsidized public housing in order to address this problem. We are proposing two randomized experiments to understand the impact of public housing on a variety of outcomes as well as whether additional resources and assistance for those moving into public housing can help households adjust following the move. First, we seek to examine the impacts of winning a lottery to receive public housing. Second, among the pool of people who have moved into public housing, we will randomize whether they receive an additional package of assistance aimed to help them with the transition.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Wang, Shing-Yi, Michael Wong and Maisy Wong. 2024. "Easing the Transition into Public Housing: Evidence from Hong Kong." AEA RCT Registry. June 05. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.12340-2.0
Sponsors & Partners

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

Request Information
Experimental Details


In the first intervention, we will examine lotteries that allocate public housing to households who have applied and been vetted as qualified by the housing operators.

In the second intervention, among a pool of people who have recently moved into public housing, we will randomize which households will receive an additional transitional assistance package that is aimed at helping them with the transition to living in a new neighborhood.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Residential mobility, employment status, earnings, physical health, mental health, consumption, savings, assets, social networks, take-up of welfare programs, housing conditions, children’s mental health, children’s academic outcomes
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Commuting times, social status, child care, family time use
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
New transitional public housing units are being built throughout Hong Kong. Households who have been on the waiting list for public housing are eligible to apply. If there is oversubscription at a particular housing site with more qualified applications than units, then there will be a lottery conducted. We will then compare the lottery winners and losers.

After households move into these new public housing units, we will advertise that households will be eligible to apply to participate in the transitional package. This will be open to new residents who have at least a working-age adult who can participate in employment (regardless of whether they are currently employed or not). Among the pool of households that apply for this program, we will randomize who gets the transitional package.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
The randomization that we implement will be done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Unit of randomization: households.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Treatment is not clustered.
Sample size: planned number of observations
For the impact of public housing, we expect a sample size around 700-1700. For the impact of the transition package, we expect a sample size of 4000-6000. The randomization will be done at the batch level where the batch is defined by an application round for a specific building.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
We will aim for the ratio of treatment to control for the transition package to be around 70% treatment and 30% control. This depends on the number of applicants to the transition program and if the number of applicants is higher than we anticipate, given the limited number of slots for treatment, the ratio may have more control households.

The ratio of treatment to control for the housing is out of our control as it depends on the amount of oversubscription in application.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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

Request Information

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Pennsylvania Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Name
University of Hong Kong Human Research Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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

Request Information