Schooling Income and Health Risk in Malawi

Last registered on May 17, 2018


Trial Information

General Information

Schooling Income and Health Risk in Malawi
Initial registration date
August 06, 2013

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
August 06, 2013, 6:05 PM EDT

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

Last updated
May 17, 2018, 4:21 PM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

George Washington Unviersity

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Malawi
PI Affiliation
University of Otago/World Bank
PI Affiliation
University of California, San Diego

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
The “Schooling Income and Health Risk” (SIHR) project is a randomized evaluation of a conditional/unconditional cash transfer intervention targeting young women in Malawi that provided incentives (in the form of school fees and cash transfers) to current schoolgirls and recent dropouts to stay in or return to school. The program, known as the Zomba Cash Transfer Program (ZCTP), took place in Zomba, Malawi during 2008 and 2009. The evaluation began with baseline data collection in late 2007, with the most recent round of data collection (Round 4) taking place in 2012-2013.

The SIHR study includes four rounds of interviews with over 3,500 young women. The data collection effort includes household surveys, individual quantitative and qualitative interviews, academic assessments, Voluntary Counseling and Testing, school surveys, market surveys, community surveys, and health facility assessments.

The SIHR project was specifically designed to answer a number of important questions about cash transfer programs for which we had little prior evidence. First, almost all that we know about the impacts of these programs come from Latin America, where income levels are much higher and institutional capacity is vastly superior compared with many poor countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Second, the evidence base to effectively choose program design parameters (such as conditionality, transfer size, and the specific identity of the program beneficiary within households) is severely limited. Third, evidence on final outcomes, such as learning, labor market outcomes, and HIV risk is lacking. Finally, long term evaluations of cash transfer programs are rare – mainly because the control groups in these evaluations are treated after a short period of time.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Baird, Sarah et al. 2018. "Schooling Income and Health Risk in Malawi." AEA RCT Registry. May 17.
Former Citation
Baird, Sarah et al. 2018. "Schooling Income and Health Risk in Malawi." AEA RCT Registry. May 17.
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Details in pre-analysis plan
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Details in pre-analysis plan

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Between October 2007 and January 2008, baseline surveys were conducted with 3,796 girls in 176 Enumeration Areas (EAs) in Zomba district of Malawi. These girls were selected based on information collected during a listing exercise, which involved going door to door to all households in these 176 EAs. This listing exercise identified all never-married, 13-22 year old females living in the area. We sampled all dropouts and 75-100% of current school girls, where the percentage sampled depended on the age of the girl.

Out of the 3,796 girls sampled in 176 EAs, 1,225 girls in 88 treatment EAs were sampled to receive cash transfers. From December 2007 through January 2008 offers were made to all these girls and, except for a few girls who turned out to be ineligible, close to 100% accepted. The offer consisted of a household transfer and a transfer directly to the girl, as well as full payment of school fees for girls in secondary school. The household amount was randomly varied across EAs from $4/month to $10/month, with all recipients in a given EA receiving the same amount. To determine the individual transfer amount, girls participated in a lottery where they picked bottle caps out of an envelope to win an amount between $1/month and $5/month.

We randomly assigned half of the 176 EAs to receive the intervention (treatment), and the rest serve as the control group. Within each treatment community, all never-married 13-22 year-old recent dropouts who are eligible to return to primary or secondary school are identified and always treated (with conditional cash transfers). We denote this core treatment group as T1. The same universe of would-be-eligible girls was identified in control communities, denoted by C1. Our second group of eligible girls are never married 13-22 year old school girls who are eligible to return to Standard 7-Form 4. We randomly assigned treatment communities into three categories: those where school girls receive transfers conditional on school attendance (T2.a), those where school girls receive unconditional transfers (T2.b), and finally those where no school girls receive any cash transfers (S2). In addition, within T2.a and T2.b communities, a randomly selected subset of school girls receives no transfers. The sample of untreated school girls in treatment villages, i.e. in T2.a, T2.b, and S2 only, will allow us to identify any spillover effects of the program. This same universe of would-be-eligible school girls are also identified in the control communities, denoted by C2. Within treatment communities, we provide monthly cash transfers separately to the school girl and her parents/guardians as described above, and randomly vary the amount transferred to the parents/guardians across EAs, and the amount transferred to the girls within each EA.

Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization of the treatment status of the cluster was done in office by a computer; as was the household amount. Individual amounts were done by public lottery
Randomization Unit
Cluster for treatment status (Conditional, Unconditional, Control), as well as % treated. Individual level for amount.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
88 clusters control:

Baseline Schoolgirls: 46 Conditional Cash Transfer, 27 Unconditional Cash Transfer; 15 no baseline schoolgirls treated
Baseline Dropouts: 88 Conditional Cash Transfer
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Study has received IRB approval. Details not available.
IRB Approval Date
Details not available
IRB Approval Number
Details not available
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents


MD5: 27c72afce83cb1e1aee75fc3a967e97b

SHA1: a00125d5b56414a0886fe1198ce00aa30d9eea74

Uploaded At: November 08, 2013


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Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

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Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials