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The Impact of Targeting Cash Transfers on Household Expenditures and Women's Empowerment in Macedonia
Last registered on October 01, 2016

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
The Impact of Targeting Cash Transfers on Household Expenditures and Women's Empowerment in Macedonia
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0001615
Initial registration date
October 01, 2016
Last updated
October 01, 2016 2:32 PM EDT
Location(s)
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
UCL & IFS
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Navarra
PI Affiliation
University College London
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2010-09-01
End date
2014-06-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This study analyse how conditional cash transfers targeted at women affect household decision making and women's empowerment.

We study a policy intervention in the Republic of Macedonia, the Macedonian Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) for Secondary School Education, offering cash transfers to poor households, conditional on having their children attending secondary school. The program is a social protection program aiming to increase secondary school enrolment and completion rates among children in the poorest households of the population. It was first implemented by the Macedonian Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (MLSP) in the Fall of 2010, and provided transfers to households conditional upon school-age children attending secondary school at least 85% of the time. The program was offered to beneficiaries of Social Financial Assistance (SFA), which is the largest income support program in Macedonia, accounting for around 0.5% of GDP, and 50% of total spending on social assistance (Verme, 2008). SFA is a mean-tested monetary transfer granted to people who are fit for work, who are socially not provided for, and who cannot support themselves. It is considered as the benefit of last resort, which means that it is provided if, after other benefits are taken-up, household income is still below a given threshold.

In this program, The gender of the recipients of the transfer was randomized, allowing payments to be received by either the mother of the child or the household head.3 The household head is the recipient of the SFA transfer, and is generally a male. Among SFA recipients, the household head is the male partner in 90% of non single-parent households, which represent 88% of SFA households. Randomization of the payment modality was done at the municipality level, after stratifying mu- nicipalities by population size. The 84 municipalities composing the Republic of Macedonia were first divided into 7 groups depending on population size, and then randomized into two groups, one of which has 42 municipalities and where the transfer is paid to the mother of the child, and the other which also has 42 municipalities and where the transfer is paid to the household head, regardless of gender.

The random allocation of the recipient of the payment allow studying different aspects of women's empowerment:

- First, using data collected to evaluate the conditional cash transfer program, we study how the gender of the recipient has an effect on the structure of expenditure shares. Focusing on food, different studies find that following an increase in total expenditure induced by a CCT transfer, households tend to allocate a larger share of total expenditures to food. This contradicts the usual assumption that food is a necessity, and therefore, that its share should decrease following an increase in total consumption. One possible explanation for this pattern is that the increase in food budget shares results from a change in control over household resources, which is induced by the transfer. The design of the CCT program and the richness of the expenditure data allow us to examine whether expenditure patterns on non-durable goods differ depending upon the gender of the recipient of the transfer.

- Secondly, we use a novel identification strategy to measure women's willingness to pay to receive cash transfers instead of their partner receiving it. We apply this using an incentive lab-setting among women living in poor households in urban Macedonia and selected to participate in the evaluation of the program. We match experimental data with the unique policy experiment introduced by the CCT program.
Registration Citation
Citation
Armand, Alex, Orazio Attanasio and Pedro Carneiro. 2016. "The Impact of Targeting Cash Transfers on Household Expenditures and Women's Empowerment in Macedonia." AEA RCT Registry. October 01. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1615-1.0.
Former Citation
Armand, Alex, Orazio Attanasio and Pedro Carneiro. 2016. "The Impact of Targeting Cash Transfers on Household Expenditures and Women's Empowerment in Macedonia." AEA RCT Registry. October 01. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1615/history/10958.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The Macedonian Conditional Cash Transfer for Secondary School Education program provided a CCT from 2010-2013 to households conditional on: (1) receiving Social Financial Assistance (the most significant income support program in the country), and (2) having a school-age child/children attending secondary school at least 85 percent of the time. The 84 municipalities in Macedonia were randomly assigned to one of two groups:

1) Mother Receives CCT: CCTs were made to the mother of the child
2) Household Head Receives CCT: CCTs were made to the household head (generally male)

Although "household head" is gender-neutral, in practice that individual is generally male.

In summer 2014, a subset of the urban women who were sampled for the evaluation of the CCT were invited to participate in a lab experiment which determined willingness to pay to make sure that she, rather than her (male) partner, receives a particular amount of cash.
Intervention Start Date
2010-09-01
Intervention End Date
2013-06-30
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary School Enrolment
Household Expenditure
Women's Empowerment
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Women's Empowerment: a woman's willingness to pay for empowerment (control of household financial resources) versus household income
Household Expenditure: the share of total household expenditures allocated to different goods (food, education, etc.)
Secondary School Enrolment: the proportion of children in secondary school age being enrolled (or having completed) secondary school
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The 84 municipalities in Macedonia were randomly assigned to one of two groups: Mother Receives CCT and Household Head Receives CCT. Randomization was stratified by municipality based on population size (7 strata).

Three waves of a household survey were collected to study the impacts of this experiment on household outcomes: one baseline and two follow-up surveys. Each survey contains detailed information on a variety of household characteristics and outcomes (demographic characteristics, expenditures on durable and non durable goods, housing) and individual level information on household members (education, health, labor supply, time use).

A subset of the urban women who were sampled for the evaluation of the CCT were invited to participate in a lab experiment which determined willingness to pay to make sure that she, rather than her (male) partner, receives a particular amount of cash.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomisation was completed in 2010 using a computer (Stata code).
Randomization Unit
84 municipalities
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
84 municipalities
Sample size: planned number of observations
Baseline: 1247 households Follow-up I: 1373 households Follow-up II: 2,376 households Lab experiment: 768 female participants
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
42 municipalities Mother Receives CCT, 42 municipalities Household Head Receives CCT
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
UCL Research Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
2013-02-06
IRB Approval Number
2562/002
Analysis Plan

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Request Information
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
June 30, 2013, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
June 01, 2014, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
84 municipalities
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Baseline: 1247 households
Follow-up I: 1373 households
Follow-up II: 2,376 households
Lab experiment: 768 female participants
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
42 municipalities Mother Receives CCT, 42 municipalities Household Head Receives CCT
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
No
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers
Abstract
This paper studies how targeted cash transfers to women affect their empowerment. We use a novel identification strategy to measure women's willingness to pay to receive cash transfers instead of their partner receiving it. We apply this among women living in poor households in urban Macedonia. We match experimental data with a unique policy intervention (CCT) in Macedonia offering poor households cash transfers conditional on having their children attending secondary school. The program randomized whether the transfer was offered to household heads or mothers at municipality level, providing us with an exogenous source of variation in (offered) transfers. We show that women who were offered the transfer reveal a lower willingness to pay, and we show that this is in line with theoretical predictions.
Citation
Almås, Ingvild, Alex Armand, Orazio Attanasio, and Pedro Carneiro. "Measuring and Changing Control: Women’s Empowerment and Targeted Transfers." NBER Working Paper No. 21717, November 2015.
Abstract
This paper studies the differential effect of targeting cash transfers to men or women on the structure of household expenditures on non-durables. We study a policy intervention in the Republic of Macedonia, offering cash transfers to poor households, conditional on having their children attending secondary school. The recipient of the transfer is randomized across municipalities to be either the household head or the mother. Using data collected to evaluate the conditional cash transfer program, we show that the gender of the recipient has an effect on the structure of expenditure shares. Targeting transfers to women increases the expenditure share on food by about 4 to 5%. To study the allocation of expenditures within the food basket, we estimate a demand system for food and we find that targeting payments to mothers induces, for different food categories, not only a significant intercept shift, but also a change in the slope of the Engel curve.
Citation
Armand, Alex & Attanasio, Orazio & Carneiro, Pedro & Lechene, Valerie, 2016. "The Effect of Gender-Targeted Conditional Cash Transfers on Household Expenditures: Evidence from a Randomised Experiment" IZA Discussion Papers 10133, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).