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Benchmarking development programs: a preference-based approach
Last registered on April 12, 2018

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Benchmarking development programs: a preference-based approach
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0001371
Initial registration date
June 23, 2016
Last updated
April 12, 2018 4:16 AM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Busara Center for Behavioral Economics
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2016-06-23
End date
2017-10-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent each year on aid programs. In 2014, for example,
OECD countries provided USD 135 billion in official development assistance (OECD,
2014) and US charitable giving to international programs exceeds USD 20 billion (Reuters,
2012). Beyond this, developing country governments allocate substantial sums to programs
intended to benefit the poor and spur development. These billions of dollars are allocated
across a wide variety of programs such as infrastructure, education, health, agriculture and
direct assistance (e.g., subsidized goods, food aid, livestock transfers and cash transfers). A
fundamental problem, impacting the hundreds of millions of individuals reached by aid, is
how best to allocate spending across programs.Yet it is incredibly difficult to decide how to
allocate resources across programs. An important input, among others, into the allocation
decision is how much recipients value particular forms of aid relative to the cost of providing
that aid, including both the value of goods and services received by beneficiaries and the
overhead cost of providing those goods and services.

A central aim of this study is to develop a replicable methodology to rapidly and efficiently
estimate the value of different types of aid to recipients. This information can be used to
determine whether a particular form of aid is valued more highly than its cost and to assess
the relative value of alternative uses of aid funding.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Shapiro, Jeremy. 2018. "Benchmarking development programs: a preference-based approach." AEA RCT Registry. April 12. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1371-5.0.
Former Citation
Shapiro, Jeremy. 2018. "Benchmarking development programs: a preference-based approach." AEA RCT Registry. April 12. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1371/history/28108.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2016-06-30
Intervention End Date
2016-07-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Values of aid programs relative to costs. Consistency of choice over time.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
See attachment.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Offsite randomization
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
800
Sample size: planned number of observations
800
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
200
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
KEMRI
IRB Approval Date
2016-06-15
IRB Approval Number
531
Analysis Plan
Analysis Plan Documents
/docs/analysisplan/632/document

MD5:

SHA1:

Uploaded At: June 23, 2016

Benchmarking_Aid_Preferences_PAP_20160623 SUBMITTED.pdf

MD5: 4d81bd89682e13bd22f4f9ad0b2c0754

SHA1: 7ca2e54b548efea856ff8bf15279ae57467378aa

Uploaded At: April 12, 2018

Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Abstract
This study proposes a preference-based benchmarking approach to assess trade-offs
between alternative uses of aid dollars. We ask ~800 low-income Kenyans their valuation
(in cash) for common aid and development programs. We compare recipients’ stated valuations
to the cost of each program and to the valuations of a population working in the
development industry. We find that recipients value some common programs less than the
cost of delivery. On an absolute basis, development professionals also value certain interventions
less than the cost of provision, but not always the same interventions as recipients.
While development professionals and recipients are in accord on the raking of value for
cost according to broad categories (e.g., public vs. private goods), they place different
relative value weights on specific interventions. Thus, in a world with limited resources a
portfolio of interventions selected by development professionals could be significantly less
valuable in the eyes of recipients than recipients’ preferred allocation.
Completion Date
October 01, 2017 12:00 AM +00:00
Url
http://jeremypshapiro.com/papers/Benchmarking_Aid_Preferences_201710101.pdf
Relevant Papers