Hidden Income and the Perceived Returns to Migration

Last registered on July 25, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Hidden Income and the Perceived Returns to Migration
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003101
Initial registration date
October 09, 2018

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 10, 2018, 8:45 PM EDT

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

Last updated
July 25, 2022, 12:02 PM EDT

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

Locations

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Rochester

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2016-05-25
End date
2019-09-30
Secondary IDs
Stanford IRB Protocol ID: 37631
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
In many developing economies, urban workers earn substantially more than rural workers with the same level of education. Why don't more rural workers migrate to cities? I use two field experiments in Kenya to show that low migration is partly due to underestimation of urban incomes, which is sustained by income hiding by migrants. Parents at the origin underestimate their migrant children's incomes by nearly half, and underestimation is greater when a migrant's remittance obligations are high. Providing information about urban earnings increases migration to the capital city by about 40% over two years.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Baseler, Travis. 2022. "Hidden Income and the Perceived Returns to Migration." AEA RCT Registry. July 25. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3101
Former Citation
Baseler, Travis. 2022. "Hidden Income and the Perceived Returns to Migration." AEA RCT Registry. July 25. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3101/history/150686
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
This study includes two interventions.

Intervention 1 (Urban Labor Market Information): Randomized at the household level. Each treated household is given information sheets with labor market statistics for Nairobi, Kisumu, and Eldoret.

Intervention 2 (Migrant Remittances Information): Randomized at the household level. Treated households told the average share of income remitted by Nairobi migrants to origin (village) households.
Intervention Start Date
2017-01-17
Intervention End Date
2018-12-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Intervention 1: Beliefs about the returns to migration, probability of migrating within the year following the intervention, employment, income, self-reported welfare.

Intervention 2: Beliefs about own potential earnings in Nairobi, beliefs about average earnings of migrants in Nairobi.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Migration outcomes will be measured as the number of migrants the household sent to a given destination after the intervention, for each of the following destination types: any destination, Nairobi, Kisumu, Eldoret, other urban destination, and other rural destination. There are two types of migration measures: cumulative (any migration after the treatment, including return migrants) and status at the time of the survey (only includes current migrants). Income will be measured as the sum of individual wage and enterprise income across family members (as defined by the household roster collected at baseline) plus estimated agricultural output (farm-gate value estimated by the household head).

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Intervention 1: Remittances, savings, spending on food, whether the household is worried about their finances, mental health index.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Households selected systematically from villages in Bungoma & Kakamega Counties.
Experimental Design Details
Intervention 1 was conducted with 497 households across 15 Western Kenyan villages. Villages were selected by local survey staff according to three criteria: they were no more than two hours away from Bungoma Town by car, they were large enough to find 30 households for survey while leaving enough space in between respondents, and they were not demographically atypical for Bungoma County. Within each village, enumerators were told to sample households systematically: each enumerator, starting from a different position on the main road, would sample the first, fourth, seventh, and tenth household in a straight line from the road. Households were screened to ensure that at least one member aged 18-35 was living there at the time of survey.

Intervention 2 was conducted on the same set of households, excluding households that had migrants in Nairobi at the time of intervention #2 or at the time of the July 2018 midline surveys.

Randomization Method
Treatment status was assigned on-the-ground by a random number generator.
Randomization Unit
Household.
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Intervention 1: 497 households. Intervention 2: 340 households, scaled-up to 4,994 households.
Sample size: planned number of observations
Intervention 1: 497 households. Intervention 2: 340 households, scaled-up to 4,994 households.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Intervention 1: 249 control households, 248 treatment households. Intervention 2: 167 control households, 173 treatment households, scaled up to 1,588 placebo households, 841 pure control households, 2,565 treatment households.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Stanford Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
2016-05-25
IRB Approval Number
37631

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
December 31, 2018, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
September 30, 2019, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Intervention 1: 497 households. Intervention 2: 4,994 households.

Intervention 1: 249 control households, 248 treatment households. Intervention 2: 1,588 placebo households, 841 pure control households, 2,565 treatment households.
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
Yes

Program Files

Program Files
Yes
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials