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On-line information and take-up of social benefits
Last registered on March 08, 2017

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
On-line information and take-up of social benefits
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002078
Initial registration date
March 08, 2017
Last updated
March 08, 2017 9:17 AM EST
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Paris School of Economics
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Warwick University
PI Affiliation
Warwick University
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2016-07-01
End date
2019-07-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The take-up of social benefits, defined as the proportion of individuals who apply for a given social benefit in the eligible population, is an important consideration in designing, budgeting and evaluating government policies. A limit of a certain range of welfare policies comes from the fact that a large proportion of individuals who are entitled to social benefits choose not to claim them. The recent literature in economics and sociology suggests that the lack of information may be an important factor affecting take-up. Potential beneficiaries may be unfamiliar with the existence of some social benefits, their associated eligibility rules and amounts. Consequently, they may form the often incorrect belief that they are not eligible or that the amount they will receive is too small to justify the cost and effort involved in applying.

To address this issue, our project evaluates the effect of an online social benefits simulator called mes-aides and created by a government agency responsible for modernising government services (SGMAP) on the take-up of social benefits in France. This simulator covers a wide range of both local and state social benefits, and offers individualised information on eligibility and on the amounts to which potential beneficiaries might be eligible. We focus our analysis on a population which is likely to require social benefits: people who recently registered as unemployed or for whom unemployment insurance will soon come to its end. We evaluate the effect of inviting these potential beneficiaries to use the site, and the impact that performing a simulation has on their benefit take-up. We also measure the added benefit of having an interactive and personalized web-based intervention, as compared to sending static and generic information e-mails.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Gurgand, Marc, Clément Imbert and Todor Tochev. 2017. "On-line information and take-up of social benefits." AEA RCT Registry. March 08. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2078-1.0.
Former Citation
Gurgand, Marc et al. 2017. "On-line information and take-up of social benefits." AEA RCT Registry. March 08. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2078/history/14793.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The intervention consists at inviting the target population by mail to consult an online website that computes personalized eligibility to most welfre schemes.
Intervention Start Date
2016-07-01
Intervention End Date
2017-01-01
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Take-up of social benefits, labor market status
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Before the beginning of the intervention, we collect baseline administrative information concerning socio-demographic variables, initial take-up of social benefits and variables linked to the employment history of people included in the sample.

Then participants are randomly allocated to one of three equally sized experimental groups:
- Group 1 serves as a control group.
- Group 2 receives an information email containing examples of hypothetical life situations together with the corresponding benefit eligibility. The email further urges recipients to contact a list of agencies in order to check their eligibility.
- Group 3 receives an e-mail of invitation to use the simulator. Each invitation contains an individual-specific link to mes-aides. If individuals click on the link, they are redirected to mes-aides, which collects data on their usage of the site.

In order to increase the number of people who read the e-mail and use the simulator, several e-mail reminder are send.

Prior to the start of the intervention, Groups 2 and 3, as well as a random sub-sample of two-thirds of Group 1 receive an invitation to answer a short online questionnaire which will update and complete the existing administrative data, as well as help us verify the suitability of our targeting approach. A second questionnaire may be offered six months after the intervention, in order to update our data with changes since the start of the project, for instance with regards to labour market status.

In order to measure the proportion of emails that are read, we collect anonymous data using Google Analytics.

Finally, we collect information about take-up of social benefits six and twelve months after sending the first information email.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
using a computer
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
60,000
Sample size: planned number of observations
60,000
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
20,000 by treatment arm
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB University of Warwick
IRB Approval Date
2016-07-11
IRB Approval Number
07/16-17
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, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS