Negotiating a Better Future: Understanding the Key Factors in Girls’ Health & Schooling

Last registered on October 31, 2017


Trial Information

General Information

Negotiating a Better Future: Understanding the Key Factors in Girls’ Health & Schooling
Initial registration date
October 30, 2017

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
October 31, 2017, 5:53 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
October 31, 2017, 5:54 PM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator

Princeton University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Wharton, University of Pennsylvania
PI Affiliation
University of Toronto
PI Affiliation
London School of Economics

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
In Sub-Saharan Africa, student drop-out, particularly for girls, peaks between primary and secondary school, when schools begin to charge fees and the opportunity cost increases. The researchers use a randomized control trial to study the effect of negotiation training on girls’ educational outcomes in Zambia. Midline findings indicate that the negotiation training significantly improved educational outcomes for the average girl, concentrated among girls in the 60th-80th percentiles of the ability distribution, who are likely on the margin of continuing in school.

The endline will explore secondary school completion rates and university enrollment, as well as the potential interactive effects of improved educational outcomes and negotiation skills on employment and earnings. The endline will also assess spillover effects on siblings’ outcomes.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Ashraf, Nava et al. 2017. "Negotiating a Better Future: Understanding the Key Factors in Girls’ Health & Schooling." AEA RCT Registry. October 31.
Former Citation
Ashraf, Nava et al. 2017. "Negotiating a Better Future: Understanding the Key Factors in Girls’ Health & Schooling." AEA RCT Registry. October 31.
Experimental Details


The negotiation curriculum was designed to teach girls the interpersonal skills needed to negotiate health and educational decisions with authority figures in their lives. The researchers adapted the curriculum to the Zambian context in collaboration with local partners and a cadre of young, university-educated Zambian women of backgrounds similar to students at the target schools. In designing the curriculum, particular care was taken to ensure that the negotiation skills did not harm existing relationships.

The program was organized in six training sessions, including interactive lessons and role-playing games. The main objective was to teach girls that “win-win” solutions are possible when negotiating partners are willing to consider each other’s interests, instead of simply fighting over positions. The curriculum was structured according to four principles that can be followed as a process of negotiation:

1. Me: Identifying one’s own interests and options in conflict situations.
2. You: Identifying the other person’s interests, needs, and perspective.
3. Together: Identifying shared interests and small trades.
4. Build: Developing win-win situations.

Furthermore, girls were taught to walk away when a safe and healthy solution for the girl was not possible.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
School completion, university enrollment, employment status, earnings, marital status, health, aspirations, and spillover effects on siblings (resource re-allocation and household responsibilities).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The baseline survey was administered to 3,146 eighth grade girls in 41 primary schools in low-income sections of Lusaka, Zambia between May and June 2013. During the baseline survey, half of the girls were randomly selected to receive an information treatment on HIV risk and the returns to education. We then randomly allocated 12 schools to be pure control schools, which received no additional treatment, and 29 schools to be treatment schools.

Within the 29 of treatment schools, eighth grade girls were randomly assigned to one of three groups:
1. Negotiation group (801 girls): Girls received free lunch on session days, a notebook, and pens. They participated in six after-school sessions over two weeks with trained female Zambian coaches covering training on negotiation and interpersonal communication.
2. Safe Space Group (785 girls): Girls received free lunch on session days, a notebook, and pens. They participated in six after-school sessions over two weeks, during which they could play games, study or do homework, or just talk with other girls. Trained female Zambian coaches supervised these sessions.
2. Pure comparison group (780 girls): Girls did not participate in any after-school program.
Comparing the Safe Space and Negotiation groups allowed researchers to isolate the effects of improved negotiation skills from the effects of participating in an all-girls training with a female Zambian coach.

Two to three months after the curriculum was delivered to treatment girls, the girls and their guardians were invited to attend a midline survey, including a lab-in-the-field experiment, simulating the educational investment decision, after-hours at their school. Seventy percent of girls and their parents attended and participated in the game, which gave parents 10 tokens and asked them to allocate some to their daughter, who would then receive double that number. Girls could choose to send back some tokens to their parents. Aspects of the game were randomly varied among participants, including whether girls could communicate with parents before the parents decided how many tokens to send. At the same time, researchers tested whether girls in fact learned the negotiation curriculum by recording responses to hypothetical situations in which girls were asked to engage with their siblings over negotiating household responsibilities.

Up to three years after the training ended, researchers also collected administrative data on outcomes such as school fee payment, attendance, grades, enrollment status, and pregnancy status through primary school visits and tracking of students at secondary schools in the Lusaka area.

In 2019, six years after the intervention, the endline survey will investigate the interactive impact of negotiation training on long-term outcomes.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Public lottery
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
29 schools randomly selected as “intervention schools”.
Sample size: planned number of observations
2,366 girls from the 29 treatment schools.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Nothing: 384 girls
Info Session: 396 girls
Negotiation: 391 girls
Safe Space: 386 girls
Info Session X Negotiation: 410 girls
Info Session X Safe Space: 399 girls
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
London School of Economics Research Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials