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More Than Money: Effects of Cash Transfer Narratives on Agency and Self-Investment
Last registered on September 21, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
More Than Money: Effects of Cash Transfer Narratives on Agency and Self-Investment
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002388
Initial registration date
August 16, 2017
Last updated
September 21, 2019 1:00 AM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Stanford University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of California, Berkeley
PI Affiliation
University of California, San Diego
PI Affiliation
Stanford University
PI Affiliation
Stanford University
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2017-07-13
End date
2017-07-22
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This document describes the pre-analysis plan for a randomized experiment examining the effects of narratives accompanying unconditional cash transfers on self-concept and economic behavior. We provided one-time, unconditional cash transfers to residents of two informal settlements in Nairobi and randomly assign participants to receive one of three messages. Respondents will receive a non-binding message stating that the cash is intended for 1) poverty alleviation, 2) individual empowerment, or 3) community empowerment. We then collected self-reported measures of self-efficacy, stigma, and affect and behavioral measures of future-orientation, self-investment, and program support. This pre-analysis plan outlines our hypotheses, the schedule of experimental tasks, and our empirical strategy. In order to guarantee transparency and bind ourselves from fishing for results, we will pre-register the scripts to be used for data analysis.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Abraham, Justin et al. 2019. "More Than Money: Effects of Cash Transfer Narratives on Agency and Self-Investment." AEA RCT Registry. September 21. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2388-4.0.
Former Citation
Abraham, Justin et al. 2019. "More Than Money: Effects of Cash Transfer Narratives on Agency and Self-Investment." AEA RCT Registry. September 21. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2388/history/53868.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Participants were randomly assigned by the survey software within enumerator to receive one of three messages introducing the purpose of the cash transfer. The three messages had a similar structure, but we experimentally varied the described purpose of the cash transfer. Specifically, we changed the stated goals of the organization, rationale for providing money, assumptions about recipients, and expectations and goals for the use of the transfer. In the poverty alleviation message, the payment was described as a means to meet basic needs. The individual empowerment message described the payment as a means toward individual goals and advancement. The community empowerment message described the payment as a means toward goals advancing one’s family and the community for community advancement. Participants listened to the message twice in their preferred language (English or Swahili) with pre-recorded audio clips or as read by the enumerator.

After hearing the message once, senior enumerators were alerted to use a project MPESA account to send USD PPP 10.5 to the participant via the mobile money system M-Pesa. Enumerators were instructed to confirm receipt of the payment on the respondent’s phone, after which enumerators played the message a second time.5 Then, enumerators led the respondent’s through a series of questions on how they view the transfer. In particular they are asked questions on their current needs (in the “poverty alleviation” arm) or goals (in the “individual empowerment” and “community empowerment” arms), the name they would assign to these funds (for example “education fund”), how receipt of these funds would affect their relationship with others, and their perceived goal of the organization.
Intervention Start Date
2017-07-13
Intervention End Date
2017-07-22
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. Video selection task
This task asked participants to make a choice about watching 3-4 minute video clips. Enumerators described the following six videos and the participant chose to watch two at the end of the survey. Participant could not select the same clip more than once. Video clips were played after the completion of the sociodemographic questionnaire.
1. A video from the Mark Angel comedy group, featuring Emanuela (leisure)
2. A trailer for the Nigerian movie, featuring Ramsey Noah (leisure)
3. A Noa Ubongo video on math skills for business or CBO management (self-investment)
4. A video of football highlights from around the world (leisure)
5. A Noa Ubongo video on using equity and debt for financing business development (self- investment)
6. A Naswa prank skit (leisure)

This task provided information on participants’ willingness to engage in self-investment (i.e. skills building) activities over leisurely activities. We collected data on the participant’s ordered first and second choices. We classified each clip as either for leisure or for self-investment and observe the number of self-investment videos (0, 1, or 2) the participant chooses to watch.


2. Savings decision task
This task allowed participants to invest a portion (either one-quarter or one-half of their initial endowment) in savings with an interest rate of 50%, to be paid out in two weeks. Enumerators reminded the participant about receiving KES 400 and present the participant with the following two choices.
1. “If you send us 100 right now, after two weeks you will get back 150 KSh.” 2. “If you send us 200 right now, after two weeks you will get back 300 KSh.”
If the participant chose to save, enumerators instruct them to send the appropriate amount of money to a project phone number a project phone number using M-Pesa. We also use M-Pesa to complete transfers scheduled in two weeks. To further reduce uncertainty regarding the delayed payment, we provided a phone number for participants to call to follow up on the transaction.


3. Support for organization and message
Participants were reminded of the organization's goal by listening to the audio message treatment once more. They were then asked to evaluate the message and were asked whether they would want to show their support for the organization by recording the organization’s message themselves.
1. This [ORGANIZATION] is asking recipients whether they want to help promote their goal of [ORGANIZATION] by recording the voices of recipients saying their message. They want to share these recordings with possible future recipients as a show of support from current recipients. If you support their goal, you could stay after the survey ends to record the message you heard earlier. Would you like to end after watching the videos, or to continue and do a recording to show support for this organization?
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Sampling
This study was conducted in conjunction with the Busara Center for Behavioral Economics (Busara) in Nairobi with 565 participants residing in Kibera and Kawangware, two of Kenya’s largest informal settlements. Treatment and data collection were con- ducted by Busara Center enumerators with participants from Kibera and Kawangware in lab and field settings, using tablets to display audio and video media and record participant responses. This section outlines the sampling procedure used in the experiment.
At the outset of the survey, eligible and consenting participants were told they would be receiving an unconditional cash transfer of KES 400 (USD PPP 10.5) from an organization unaffiliated with the Busara Center.

Treatment
Participants were randomly assigned by the survey software within enumerator to receive one of three messages introducing the purpose of the cash transfer. The three messages had a similar structure, but we experimentally varied the described purpose of the cash transfer. Specifically, we changed the stated goals of the organization, rationale for providing money, assumptions about recipients, and expectations and goals for the use of the transfer. In the poverty alleviation message, the payment was described as a means to meet basic needs. The individual empowerment message described the payment as a means toward individual goals and advancement. The community empowerment message described the payment as a means toward goals advancing one’s family and the community for community advancement. Participants listened to the message twice in their preferred language (English or Swahili) with pre-recorded audio clips or as read by the enumerator.

Participants were recruited from the Busara participant pool and were asked to participate in the survey in one of the lab settings. There were seven survey locations used throughout the study period. Table 1 summarizes these areas. Participants were recruited to participate in the study if they met the following eligibility criteria:
1. Member of the Busara Center’s participant pool
2. Resident of Kibera or Kawangware
3. Owns a working phone and an M-Pesa account registered under the participant’s name

Experimental procedure
The survey questionnaire was delivered by enumerators to participants in Swahili or English, as preferred by the participant. The following summarizes the schedule of tasks in the questionnaire.
1. Consent agreement
2. Cash transfer and message (randomized)
3. Self-efficacy module
4. Stigma module
5. Affect module
6. Video selection task
7. Savings task
8. Message evaluation
9. Support for organization and message
10. MacArthur Subjective Social Status Ladders
11. Sociodemographic module
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
By Qualtrics software
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
1
Sample size: planned number of observations
n/a
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
565/3 per arm
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
To achieve power of 80% for an estimated effect size of 0.30 SD, the required sample size is 525 participants, with 175 in each of the treatment arms.
Supporting Documents and Materials
Documents
Document Name
Survey instrument
Document Type
survey_instrument
Document Description
File
Survey instrument

MD5: dd0c161751fdada1e759f3d44737ade4

SHA1: a4fd71738234f57260a95235bc22655a7d338b4a

Uploaded At: March 12, 2019

IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Stanford University IRB
IRB Approval Date
2017-05-26
IRB Approval Number
41430
Analysis Plan
Analysis Plan Documents
Pre analysis plan: Cash Transfer Narratives

MD5: c1ee808f11b9a4858c158aff90bea061

SHA1: 20636a180c411f3f2b3305c891b2907b3be88565

Uploaded At: August 16, 2017

Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
July 22, 2017, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
July 22, 2017, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
565
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
565
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
189 poverty alleviation condition, 174 individual empowerment condition, 202 community empowerment condition
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No

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Program Files
Program Files
No
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers