Increasing transparency of government processes using SMS messaging
Last registered on December 20, 2017

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Increasing transparency of government processes using SMS messaging
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002072
Initial registration date
March 06, 2017
Last updated
December 20, 2017 12:21 PM EST
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Harvard University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2017-03-06
End date
2017-06-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Participants in various social programs in Australia have the opportunity to apply for a Change of Assessment (CoA) when they experience a change in circumstances. This is done by lodging an application with the Australian Government's Department of Human Services (DHS). This study will examine the effects of SMS messages informing applicants that their application has been received and that they will be contacted when it has been progressed. This project will increase process transparency in order to alleviate client concerns and anxiety about the progress of their application. The intended impact of the messages is to save client time as they do not need to call to check on the status of their application. If effective in reducing call volumes, the messages may also create efficiency gains for DHS Service Officers.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Hiscox, Michael. 2017. "Increasing transparency of government processes using SMS messaging." AEA RCT Registry. December 20. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2072/history/24298
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
SMS messages informing applicants that their application for a change of assessment has been received and that they will be contacted when it has been progressed.
Intervention Start Date
2017-03-06
Intervention End Date
2017-04-17
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Primary outcomes: number of telephone calls to DHS enquiring about change of assessment application
Secondary outcomes: time between lodgement of form and telephone call to DHS enquiring about status of application
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Communication by SMS to applicants from DHS to set expectations about time needed for completion of a government process
Experimental Design Details
This is an individualized randomised controlled trial with two experimental groups. Approximately 2,400 participants are expected to be enrolled in the trial during a 6-week period. Participants will be randomised into either intervention or control condition. Data (number of telephone calls) will be collected daily until all participants in the trial have been allocated to a decision-maker.
Randomization Method
Randomization by computer algorithm
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
N/A
Sample size: planned number of observations
2,400 applicants
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Approximately 1,200 individual participants anticipated in treatment and control conditions
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
A two-proportion power calculation gives a sample size of 1,222 per group at 80% power and a significance level of 0.05, with a minimum detectable effect of a 5% change in the primary outcome.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
BETA Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
2017-03-02
IRB Approval Number
ETH 2017-010
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
April 17, 2017, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
June 30, 2017, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
n/a
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
2,852
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
1,415 in treatment; 1,415 in control
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
No
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers