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Girl's Economic Empowerment: a Randomized Experiment in Tanzanian Schools
Last registered on December 03, 2013

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Girl's Economic Empowerment: a Randomized Experiment in Tanzanian Schools
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0000150
Initial registration date
Not yet registered
Last updated
December 03, 2013 8:21 AM EST
Location(s)
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
NHH Norwegian School of Economics
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
CMI
PI Affiliation
DPC
PI Affiliation
ESRF
PI Affiliation
NHH
PI Affiliation
NHH and CMI
PI Affiliation
NHH and CMI
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2013-04-01
End date
2013-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Teenage pregnancies are common in many low-income countries, but the reasons for why teenage girls become pregnant are not well understood. This is particularly unfortunate in a low-income context where pregnancy among young girls can result in illegal and often dangerous abortions, the spread of HIV/AIDS and, more generally, poor health, educational, and economic outcomes.

The present study takes place in Tanzania and investigates the fertility and economic decisions of girls when they are on the verge of making two of the most important decisions in their lives: what to do when leaving school and whether to start childbearing.

The present project investigates whether early childbearing reflects a lack of empowerment among young girls in Tanzania, with a focus on two different empowerment strategies. First, we offer an information treatment where young girls are targeted with detailed and extensive information about reproductive health, gender equality, and rights. Second, we offer an opportunity treatment where young girls are targeted with entrepreneurship training to improve their skills on how to run a business. Both treatments aim at empowering girls, but through different channels. The information treatment represents in many ways the classical approach in the field, where the underlying idea is that teenage pregnancies reflect lack of relevant information and personal control. The opportunity treatment, on the other hand, investigates whether teenage pregnancies to a large extent reflect a lack of economic opportunities. By comparing these two treatments, the study will provide novel insights on the relative importance of providing information and opportunities to adolescent girls, which is important both from a theoretical and a policy perspective. In addition, since there may be important complementarities in how the two treatments work, we also offer a cross-treatment to a sub-sample of the girls.

An ultimate goal of this research project is to inform the design of sound policies, and we are thus particularly careful to develop a cost-effective intervention with scaling-up potential: all treatments are evaluated and compared not only in terms of impact but also on their relative economic costs. The interventions are based on current practices of our partners, which makes it easier to scale up the successful parts of the project and, more generally, to use the knowledge from the project to improve existing policies.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Berge, Lars et al. 2013. "Girl's Economic Empowerment: a Randomized Experiment in Tanzanian Schools." AEA RCT Registry. December 03. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.150-1.0.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Together with our partner Femina HIP, a leading NGO on reproductive health in Tanzania, we have decided to focus on girls who are in their last year of secondary school (Form IV in Tanzania). They are in the age interval where we observe a sharp increase in fertility. Most of them will not have access to further schooling, and will thus have to consider other opportunities, including opening a small scale business, which is a very common activity in the areas of this study.

The interventions consist in training sessions offered in a classroom setting on a weekly basis for eight weeks:

1) Reproductive health information treatment: An information course on reproductive health, gender equality, and rights.

Femina HIP, together with the research team, designed a tailored information program for the targeted girls, which provided both practical and objective information about reproductive health, such as information about contraception and the consequences of risky sexual behavior. In addition, the course focused on gender equality, rights, and women’s empowerment.

2) Economic opportunity treatment: EntrepreneursHIP training to improve economic opportunities.

Femina HIP, together with the research team, designed a tailored entrepreneursHIP program for the targeted girls, which provided the girls with knowledge on how to establish and run their own business. Topics included customer care, marketing, record keeping, pricing of products, personal finance, and sessions aiming at improving entrepreneurial mindset and self-confidence.

3) Cross-treatment: Information and opportunity

We also offered a cross-treatment, where the students received both the reproductive health information and entrepreneursHIP training, to investigate possible complementarities in how the two treatments work. The girls that were offered this training met twice a week for eight weeks.
Intervention Start Date
2013-07-01
Intervention End Date
2013-09-30
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
K1, K2, B1, B2, G1, G2, E1, E2, defined below.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We measure key outcomes in four different dimensions: knowledge, behavior, gender-equality and empowerment. Three dimensions, knowledge, behavior and gender-equality, are measured specifically for health and entrepreneursHIP, and thus we expect a stronger effect from the corresponding treatment intervention. The empowerment outcomes apply across health and entrepreneursHIP. In sum, we thus have seven outcomes in largely unrelated domains.

Knowledge:

K1 = knowledge in reproductive health.
We ask 7 incentivized questions about reproductive health (part 8 of the short-term follow-up questionnaire). In each question, the respondent must choose one among four possible answers. The outcome K1 is equal to the number of correct answers on these questions. Here and elsewhere we will also consider reporting the standardized outcome measure

K2 = knowledge related to business practices
We ask 5 incentivized questions about business (part 7 of the short-term follow-up questionnaire). In each question, the respondent must choose one among four possible answers. The outcome K2 is equal to the number of correct answers on these questions.


Behavior:

B1 = indicator of safe sex practices
This binary variable is equal to one if the respondent reports not having sex or using a condom when she has sex (which means reporting 5 or 6 in question 6.3.1 in the short-term follow-up questionnaire).

B2 = current plans to open a business
This binary variable is equal to one if the respondent reports already having made plans to open a business once the school year is completed (question 4.3 in the short-term follow-up questionnaire).

Gender equality

G1 = acceptance of gender-based violence
We ask the following question that comes from the DHS - Tanzania: “do you agree that a husband is justified in hitting or beating his wife if (answer YES or NO) (question 6.3.5 in the short-term follow-up questionnaire):
1) she burns the food
2) she argues with him
3) she goes out without telling him
4) she neglects the children
5) she refuses to have sexual intercourse with him”
G1 is constructed as in the DHS reports and is equal to the number of YES answers given by the respondent.

G2 = acceptance of women’s higher earnings
We ask whether they agree that “it is acceptable to me that a wife earns more money than her husband” (question 5.2.6 in the short-term follow-up questionnaire). The response is on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is strongly disagrees and 5 is “strongly agrees”. G2 is equal to the response value. This is question 5.2.6 in the short-term follow-up questionnaire.

Empowerment

E1 = willingness to compete
In an incentivized lab setting, E1 is a binary variable equal to one if the respondent chooses a competitive game rather than a fixed-payment game (question 9.2.4 in the short-term follow-up questionnaire).

E2 = Empowerment index
This index is constructed from the seven questions in 2.1 and 2.2 in the short-term follow-up questionnaire. Questions 2.2.1, 2.2.2 and 2.2.4 are inverted so that in all questions, a lower score reflects a higher empowerment.
To examine the overall impact of the interventions on the empowerment index and to account for multiple hypotheses testing, we estimate the overall average treatment effect on the index. The overall average treatment effect is estimated by combining the effects on each of questions using the method of Kling and Liebman (2004) and Kling, Liebman and Katz (2007). We will also report the estimates on the individual questions.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We sampled schools with at least 20 girls in Form IV in the following regions: Tabora, Singida, Morogoro and Dodoma. In each school, we did a baseline survey of the girls enrolled in Form IV and surveyed the headmaster of each school, who provided us with detailed information about school characteristics.

The schools were then randomly allocated to the control group or one of the three treatments. The randomization was blocked by school-size (below or above 40 girls in Form IV) and by region.

After the baseline survey, one or two teachers per (treated) school attended a one week instructor session organized by Femina HIP (two weeks for the teachers involved in the combined treatment). After this instructor sessions, the teachers implemented the training sessions (treatments) with all the Form IV girls of their school. The single treatments had 8 training sessions of 1.5 to 2 hours, 1 session per week. The cross-treatments had 16 training sessions of 1.5 to 2 hours, two sessions per week.

The short-term follow-up survey was done within six weeks after the last training session. The survey data was collected by the girls filling in a questionnaire in the classroom. In addition, we collected incentivized data on knowledge (i.e. the students received a payment for each correct answers) and their willingness to compete.

We also surveyed 5 boys in Form IV in each school to measure spill-over effects of the treatments.

For more details, see the attached questionnaires and instructions.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
We randomized at the school-level, with blocking to ensure balance in two dimensions:
- school size (more or less than 40 girls in Form IV)
- region (Tabora, Singida, Morogoro and Dodoma)

We followed David McKenzie and Miriam Bruhn’s recommendations in dealing with the uneven numbers in some strata and in doing the randomization used the stata code they shared on the World Bank’s “Development Impact” blog on the 11th of June 2011.
Randomization Unit
We randomized at the school level. In each school, the unit of observation is all the girls enrolled in Form IV in the school-year of 2013.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
As per our contract with the funding agency, The Research Council of Norway, we planned to survey 62 schools. During the baseline, we actually surveyed 80 schools.
Sample size: planned number of observations
3 100 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
We planned to have 17 schools in the control group and 15 schools in each treatment. Having reached 18 more schools than initially planned, we randomly allocated 20 schools in each arm.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
power of 80% (with a 5% confidence interval)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan
Analysis Plan Documents
pre_plan_girl_power.pdf

MD5: 45370bd107e8373e48d11a4c311dce6e

SHA1: 22dd559ac7fec28141571acfd1faf03adb234578

Uploaded At: December 03, 2013

Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers