Social Network Formation among Female Marriage Migrants

Last registered on May 21, 2024

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Social Network Formation among Female Marriage Migrants
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0013644
Initial registration date
May 18, 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
May 21, 2024, 11:33 AM EDT

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

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2024-05-25
End date
2024-09-02
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
In seventy-one percent of societies worldwide, women move to the area where her husband and his kin live at the time of marriage (Murdock 1967). I seek to evaluate how women’s ability to enter social networks after moving to a new village for marriage affects their mental health and integration into social and financial networks in rural Malawi villages. While a growing literature shows mental health disorders and loneliness are highly prevalent among low-income people, including within developing countries (Banerjee et al. 2023), there is limited evidence documenting causal pathways and mitigating strategies in this population. Furthermore, although evidence documents that social networks facilitate financial risk-sharing and information transmission (Breza et al. 2019), little is known about how social networks originate or evolve. My intervention will help young, low-income female marriage migrants to initiate meal-sharing with other women, a common way to engage socially. My study design will allow me to understand the causes and consequences of sparse and homophilic networks within a socially isolated and vulnerable population. I will explore the roles of social frictions and budget constraints as potential inhibitors of homophilic and non-homophilic network formation among young female marriage migrants. Finally, I will investigate how encouraging meal-sharing relationship affects social network formation and characteristics, psychological well-being, and socio-economic inclusion.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Fleischman, Gabriella. 2024. "Social Network Formation among Female Marriage Migrants." AEA RCT Registry. May 21. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.13644-1.0
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
1. Inviter Treatment (n=600) – This group will view the Sharing List and can invite up to five women on the list to share a meal (invitation delivered by enumerators).
2. Vouchers + Inviter Treatment (n=600) – Recipients will receive 7 USD (8% median monthly income) vouchers, redeemable at several local vendors selling perishable produce, and the Inviter Treatment.
3. Control (n=400) – This group will not receive any intervention.

Within treatments 1 and 2, participants will view one of three types of Sharing Lists: within-SES (all Invitees have a straw roof), cross-SES (no Invitees have a straw roof), or a random selection of women (for each of these three groups, n=200 in treatment 1, and n=200 in treatment 2).
Intervention Start Date
2024-07-08
Intervention End Date
2024-08-05

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. Psychological well-being index: UCLA-3 score, CESDR-10 score, "Is there someone you can speak to if you have a quarrel with your husband?"
2. Social capital index: of number of relative social network connections, number of non-relative social network connections, and average strength of these relationships (measured by the inclusion of self in others score, ability to trust, laugh with, and confide in network connection)
1. Savings and consumption index: maize stores, meals eaten yesterday, meals eaten day before yesterday, number of animal protein meals in past month
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
All indexes will be constructed by standardizing each variable in the index, taking the average of those variables, and then standardizing the index in terms of standard deviations from the control mean. I will also construct two other indexes for robustness: the Anderson Inverse Covariance weighted and first component of the variables using Principal Components Analysis

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
1. Female empowerment index: autonomy over decision-making about children's health, children's schooling, disciplining children, family planning, and household savings.
2. Labor market outcomes: methods of income-earning, income earned in past month
3. Risk-sharing outcomes: number of people lent to and borrowed from in past month, number of people feels comfortable to lend to or borrow from
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
All indexes will be constructed by standardizing each variable in the index, taking the average of those variables, and then standardizing the index in terms of standard deviations from the control mean. I will also construct two other indexes for robustness: the Anderson Inverse Covariance weighted and first component of the variables using Principal Components Analysis

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
My RCT will include two intervention arms that each attempt to solve barriers to inviting somebody to share a meal: a food price subsidy to solve budgetary concerns, and information about who else in the village would like to share meals to solve social concerns, such as fear that an invitation might be rejected. I will first recruit a sample of 2,600 women who moved to the village after the age of 14 but no more than 20 years ago (Baseline Sample). I will select a 1,600-person subset of the Baseline Sample for the intervention (Intervention Sample), selected if they have a straw roof (proxy for low-income) since budgets are more likely to constrain low-income women. I will offer Baseline Sample participants who are not selected for the Intervention Sample the opportunity to be an Invitee, who add their name to a list of women who are interested in sharing meals with other women in the village more often (Sharing List). The rest of the study will be conducted with the Intervention Sample, who will be randomized into the Inviter, Inviter + Voucher, or Control treatment arms.

Data:
Baseline Survey: collected with all 2600 participants
Treatment Allocation Survey (one month after Baseline): collected with the Intervention Sample
Endline Survey (one month after treatment): collected with the Intervention Sample
Food Diaries: Intervention Sample participants will fill out a pen-and-paper food diary, where they can mark from a list of food options what they consume each day over the course of two weeks. They can also mark if each meal was shared on the same diary.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
All women without straw roofs are assigned to the Invitee treatment
Women with straw roofs randomized into Inviter, Inviter + Voucher, Invitee, or Control via randomization in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
2600
Sample size: planned number of observations
2600
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Invitees: 1000
Control: 400
Inviters + Vouchers -- Within-SES Invitees: 200
Inviters w/o Vouchers -- Within-SES Invitees: 200
Inviters + Vouchers -- Cross-SES Invitees: 200
Inviters w/o Vouchers -- Cross-SES Invitees: 200
Inviters + Vouchers -- Random Invitees: 200
Inviters w/o Vouchers -- Random Invitees: 200
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Committee on the Use of Human Subjects -- Harvard University
IRB Approval Date
2024-02-21
IRB Approval Number
IRB22-0484