Poverty and the Cost of Labour Supply: Evidence from the Informal Waste Industry of Uganda

Last registered on February 16, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Poverty and the Cost of Labour Supply: Evidence from the Informal Waste Industry of Uganda
Initial registration date
February 14, 2024

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
February 16, 2024, 4:14 PM EST

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


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Primary Investigator

IIES, Stockholm University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
The working poor in low-income countries are exposed to challenging working conditions. Accidents, pollution and heat lead to work-related illness and mortality rates that are four to five times higher in low-income countries compared to their wealthier counterparts. Moreover, the high prevalence of occupational hazards comes at psychosocial costs for workers in the form of stress, anxiety, burnout, or depression. As a consequence, the cost of labour supply for the poor can be excessively high and may lead to the existence of a poverty trap caused by challenging working conditions. In this research project, I design a randomized controlled trial to study how daily exposure to challenging working conditions affects the economic and social well-being of the poor. Focusing on the informal waste industry of Uganda, a labor market with especially dangerous working conditions, I randomly vary workers’ access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and estimate the causal effect of improved workplace amenities on a wide range of economic and psychosocial outcomes. In addition, I conduct a series of willingness-to-pay and job offer experiments to measure how improvements to working conditions are valued and affect reservation wages of workers.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Biesalski, Dominik. 2024. "Poverty and the Cost of Labour Supply: Evidence from the Informal Waste Industry of Uganda." AEA RCT Registry. February 16. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.13038-1.0
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Willingness-to-pay for PPE, reservation wage for a safe outside job option, productivity, labour supply, earnings, physical health, mental health, time use, behavior outside of the workplace
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Savings, borrowings, consumption, status, social inclusion
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Participants will be randomly allocated to either a treatment or control group. Participants in the treatment group will receive PPE equipment at a heavily subsidized price while participants in the control group remain in a status quo condition. Before randomization, every participant will be asked about their initial valuation of PPE and state the reservation wage for a safe job opportunity offered to them by the research team. I will then compare differences in primary and secondary outcomes between participants in the treatment and control group.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done by a computer
Randomization Unit
Individual level
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
200 participants in control group, 200 participants in treatment group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Mildmay Uganda REC
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Name
Etikprövningsmyndigheten Sweden
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number