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Effective use of SMS to encourage timely reporting behaviour using digital channels
Last registered on December 20, 2017

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Effective use of SMS to encourage timely reporting behaviour using digital channels
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002210
Initial registration date
May 10, 2017
Last updated
December 20, 2017 12:01 PM EST
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Harvard University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2017-05-01
End date
2017-08-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The aim of the study is to examine whether providing targeted, timely and behaviourally informed prompts, via SMS, will improve the number of recipients who take a desired action in a timely manner.

During the discovery phase (scoping for the project) it was agreed that Job Seeker (Newstart and Youth Allowance) recipients in receipt of income support payments, administered by the Australian Department of Human Services, were a population of interest. These recipients are required to report each fortnight, and include any income they receive from employment.

Late reporters may have their payments terminated, which can be problematic for the client and increase departmental work in the form of increased contacts and reinstating customers back onto payments.
This trial will have seven arms and will scientifically test behaviour against some key behavioural concepts such as personalisation and loss and gain framed messages.

It is anticipated findings from this research will inform service delivery both within the lead department and across the Australian Public Service.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Hiscox, Michael. 2017. "Effective use of SMS to encourage timely reporting behaviour using digital channels." AEA RCT Registry. December 20. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2210-2.0.
Former Citation
Hiscox, Michael. 2017. "Effective use of SMS to encourage timely reporting behaviour using digital channels." AEA RCT Registry. December 20. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2210/history/24292.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
SMS communication from DHS to prompt recipients who are due to complete their fortnightly reports the next day
Intervention Start Date
2017-05-02
Intervention End Date
2017-05-12
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Primary:
• Number of recipients who report on time in each condition.
Secondary:
• Median number of days to report.
• % of recipients who are removed from system due to reports >13 days late

Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
7-arm Randomised Controlled Trial.
This trial will test differently framed text messages, over several days of one week, to assess whether this communication improves on-time reporting by recipients who have reported late in the fortnight before trial commencement.
1. Customer correspondence standard (loss framed message) with a consequence for late reporting
2. Personalised customer correspondence standard (loss framed message) with a consequence for late reporting
3. Short simple message without a consequence
4. Personalised short simple message without a consequence.
5. Gain framed message (details positive consequence of on-time reporting)
6. Personalised gain framed message (details positive consequence of on-time reporting)
7. No-treatment control group
Experimental Design Details
7-arm Randomised Controlled Trial. This trial will test differently framed text messages, over several days of one week, to assess whether this communication improves on-time reporting by recipients who have reported late in the fortnight before trial commencement. 1. Customer correspondence standard (loss framed message) with a consequence for late reporting 2. Personalised customer correspondence standard (loss framed message) with a consequence for late reporting 3. Short simple message without a consequence 4. Personalised short simple message without a consequence. 5. Gain framed message (details positive consequence of on-time reporting) 6. Personalised gain framed message (details positive consequence of on-time reporting) 7. No-treatment control group
Randomization Method
Stratification into condition based on number of times recipients have reported late in the previous four fortnights.
Randomization Unit
Individuals
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
N/A
Sample size: planned number of observations
12,300
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1,550 per treatment arm
Approximately 3,000 in control group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Of the 80,382 individuals who were late reporting in the fortnight ending 17 Feb 2017, 35,329 (43%) were late reporting again over the next month. A sample size of 1550 per group, will provide 80% power at a 5% significance level to detect a 5 percentage point decrease in the late reporting rate (from 43% to 38%). With a larger control group (no SMS) and six treatment groups a total sample of 12,300 will be required.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
BETA Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
2017-02-22
IRB Approval Number
BETA ETH 2017-007
Analysis Plan
Analysis Plan Documents
REI Key Tables of Results

MD5: 71b47b7e00ee1e488321027499e16b44

SHA1: 63adbc9b5a4e1675d4e765f9bf050c0bd24e3204

Uploaded At: May 08, 2017

Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
May 12, 2017, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
August 31, 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
15,000
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
4,998 in control; in treatments (different message content) 1,666, 1666, 1,666, 1,666, 1,666, 1,666
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
No
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers