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Impact Evaluation of Cash Transfers and Social Promotion Activities in Mauritania
Last registered on March 15, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Impact Evaluation of Cash Transfers and Social Promotion Activities in Mauritania
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003506
Initial registration date
March 11, 2019
Last updated
March 15, 2021 10:50 AM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
The World Bank
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
World Bank
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2017-10-01
End date
2022-09-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Social protection interventions in the Sahel have overwhelmingly consisted of emergency responses to rising international food and fuel prices or to droughts and other climate shocks. To meet long-term poverty reduction goals, governments are shifting towards a broader safety net approach to protect the chronically poor and invest in their human capital. In Mauritania, a nation-wide social cash transfer program (Tekavoul) is being rolled-out with the goal of reaching 100,000 extremely poor households by 2020. Beneficiaries receive 15,000 Ouguiyas (US$ 50) every three months for a period of five years, conditional on participation in social promotion activities addressing hygiene, nutrition, education, civil registration, and child development.

The impact evaluation aims to measure the impact of Tekavoul, with and without the social promotion activities. Despite the emerging consensus among development policy-makers on the effectiveness of cash transfers in improving living conditions of extremely poor households, rigorous evidence in the Sahel region remains scarce. More information is also needed to understand what works to bring about behavioral change and human capital investments. In addition to economic outcomes, the present study will also measure the impact of unconditional cash transfers and an information campaign on hygiene, nutrition, and early childhood development outcomes. A separate, multi-country, evaluation is testing different variations of a productive measures package offered to a subset of Tekavoul beneficiaries. Together, the two studies are designed to fill critical knowledge gaps on productive safety nets and women’s empowerment not only in Mauritania, but also in the broader Sahel region.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Goldstein, Markus and Julia Vaillant. 2021. "Impact Evaluation of Cash Transfers and Social Promotion Activities in Mauritania." AEA RCT Registry. March 15. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3506-1.4000000000000001.
Former Citation
Goldstein, Markus, Julia Vaillant and Julia Vaillant. 2021. "Impact Evaluation of Cash Transfers and Social Promotion Activities in Mauritania." AEA RCT Registry. March 15. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3506/history/87345.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Tekavoul, implemented by Tadamoun (Agence Nationale de Lutte contre les Séquelles de l’Esclavage, l’Insertion et la Lutte contre la Pauvreté), is Mauritania’s flagship social protection program. It provides extremely poor households with cash transfers and social promotion activities covering topics such as hygiene, nutrition, and early childhood development. While cash transfers can alleviate credit constraints in the short run, these alone may not be sufficient to end the cycle of poverty. The program includes, therefore, accompanying social promotion activities that are expected to ensure the sustainability and cost-effectiveness of the intervention by promoting human capital investments. Tekavoul aims to reach approximately 100,000 extremely poor households by 2020.

Beneficiary households receive cash payments every three months for a period of five years (renewable upon re-certification of the household status). Payments are conditional on attendance of social promotion sessions and made to the person in charge of the daily health, nutrition and education of the children in the household, usually the mother of the children. The amount of the payment is MRO 60,000 (US$ 200) per household per year and is paid in four installments of MRO 15,000. This corresponds to around 16% of extremely poor households’ consumption and 38% of the gap between average expenditure and extreme poverty. The amount is in line with transfers observed in comparable West African contexts.

The social promotion activities aim to improve human capital investments and focus explicitly on women and children. The core themes tackled during these activities include health and hygiene, nutrition, socio-emotional development, education, and child rights and protection. Before receiving each tri-monthly transfer, Tekavoul recipients grouped in Social Promotion Spaces (SPS) are asked to attend social promotion sessions that cover three themes each time. Sessions are led by animators hired by Tadamoun and last approximately one hour and a half. The messages are simple and easily illustrated in practice, and repeated during two consecutive sessions in order to facilitate learning. In the areas covered by the impact evaluation, only half of the SPS participate in the social promotion activities.
Intervention Start Date
2018-01-15
Intervention End Date
2019-12-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Consumption: per capita measures of food, non-food, and durable good consumption; Food Security: standardized measures of hunger, including Household Hunger Scales and Dietary Diversity scores;
Income and Revenues: all income, including employment, business, and transfer income; Resiliency: incidence and response to shocks, preparation for seasonal variations in income; Assets: ownership and value of household and productive assets; Finance: borrowing, lending, and savings; Expenditure: specifically, transfers and celebration spending; Health and nutrition: height and weight of children under 5; Early childhood development: cognitive development, language, motor development, socio-emotional development and mental health measured with the Caregiver-Reported Early Development Index (CREDI).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Time use: time spent on agriculture, in employment, in other productive activities; Mental Health and non-cognitive skills: depression, locus of control and aspirations; Women’s empowerment: decision-making power and agency, constraints to mobility; Political involvement: involvement in social and political groups; Physical health: sickness, healthcare use; Gender-based violence: domestic violence, attitudes towards violence.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The interventions described above are being evaluated using a randomized controlled trial (RCT). We adopt a two-level random assignment strategy. In a first stage, eligible households from the Social Registry are randomly selected to receive cash transfers, regardless of their PMT scores. The randomization is stratified by commune and ensuring that there is balance on a set of key indicators between the treatment and control group. Once informed of their treatment status, beneficiaries enroll in the Tekavoul intervention and be assigned to a social promotion space (SPS) of 38-40 households. In a second stage, the SPS are assigned to treatment groups through public lotteries. The selection of groups to receive social promotion activities is conducted at this stage. All households in an SPS receive the same treatment.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Individual randomization conducted using Stata; Cluster randomization conducted through public lotteries
Randomization Unit
Individual randomization: households; Cluster randomization: SPS (social promotion spaces)
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
117 SPS
Sample size: planned number of observations
4,509 households
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
62 SPS with social promotion, 55 SPS without social promotion
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Innovations for Poverty Action Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
2017-04-04
IRB Approval Number
14482