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Impact of Cash Transfers on Income Distribution
Last registered on January 26, 2021


Trial Information
General Information
Impact of Cash Transfers on Income Distribution
Initial registration date
December 01, 2016
Last updated
January 26, 2021 5:47 AM EST
Primary Investigator
University of Oxford
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Oxford
PI Affiliation
University of Oxford
PI Affiliation
University of Oxford
PI Affiliation
University of Oxford
PI Affiliation
Duke University
Additional Trial Information
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
This study aims to identify the aggregate and distributional income and wealth impacts of targeted cash transfers to poor rural households in a developing country and to understand the channels through which distributional impacts occur.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Dercon, Stefan et al. 2021. "Impact of Cash Transfers on Income Distribution." AEA RCT Registry. January 26. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1484-4.0.
Former Citation
Dercon, Stefan et al. 2021. "Impact of Cash Transfers on Income Distribution." AEA RCT Registry. January 26. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1484/history/84556.
Experimental Details
Cash Transfers: Eligible households in treatment villages (approximately 2/3 of households) will receive transfers of approximately 1000 USD in the standard three-stage cash transfer program implemented by GiveDirectly. In the course of the registration process for the cash transfers, eligible individuals are provided with a mobile money account as well as a mobile phone if they do not yet have these. This is followed by three mobile money transfers, made in intervals of approximately two months: a small transfer (`Token') of approximately USD100 (nominal 2016 dollars); a large transfer (`Lump Sum A') of approximately USD450; and a second large transfer (`Lump Sum B') of USD450 minus the price of the mobile phone.

Note that, as this study is related to the study "Promoting Future Orientation Among Cash Transfer Recipients" (ID: AEARCTR-0000996), the cash transfer intervention is cross-cut with a goal-setting psychological intervention.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
The key outcome variables of interest are the distributions of income, consumption expenditure and asset wealth (both levels and changes). These are all measured through household socioeconomic surveys at baseline and endline using standard approaches for measurement in low income and mixed livelihoods contexts.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Villages in the study area are randomly assigned to four treatment arms: cash transfer and psychological intervention, cash transfer only, psychological intervention only, pure control. Household eligibility is determined by a preliminary census of all households covering household composition, housing characteristics and a basic asset index. Eligible households in the cash transfer treatment villages are offered substantial cash transfers, while eligible households in the psychological intervention villages are offered an intervention that consists of two back-to-back ten-minute aspirational videos, a facilitated goal-setting exercise, and the distribution of a reminder. Comprehensive household surveys, covering productive activities, consumption, assets and networks, are carried out with eligible and ineligible households sampled from all villages before and after the interventions are conducted.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Computer, stratified random assignment.
The village level randomization was stratified by the percentage of people eligible for the cash transfer based on the eligibility criteria, the village size, a household asset index (TV, car, telephone etc) and a village services index (schools, health clinics, markets).
Randomization Unit
Village level randomization
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Estimated: 315 villages
Sample size: planned number of observations
Estimated: 10446 households of which 7338 are eligible to receive the cash transfer (sampled through existing RCT) and 3108 are ineligible. Recruitment is ongoing.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Target distribution is 1/4 of villages in each arm; but randomization is phased and ongoing. The overall number of villages might not divisible by 4.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
Social Science & Humanities Inter-Divisional Research Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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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)