Pre-departure Interventions for Migrant Domestic Workers
Last registered on February 15, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Pre-departure Interventions for Migrant Domestic Workers
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003837
Initial registration date
February 13, 2019
Last updated
February 15, 2019 4:09 PM EST
Location(s)
Region
Region
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of Munich
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Michigan
PI Affiliation
Georgetown University
PI Affiliation
Asian Institute of Management
PI Affiliation
University of St. Andrews
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2014-05-26
End date
2019-03-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This trial studies the impact of four pre-departure interventions for migrant domestic workers from the Philippines. Interventions take place about two weeks before migrants depart for the destination country. The study is based on 2,000 female domestic workers bound for Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia.

First, the "gift and photo" intervention encourages migrants to introduce themselves to the employer with a small gift that we provide and to show a family picture. The intervention aims at improving the treatment of the domestic worker by her employer.

Second, a short savings module and third, regular savings reminders aim at improving financial decision making and encourage migrants to save the targeted share of income.

Fourth, an intervention where experienced domestic workers share their experiences, problems faced, and suggestions to overcome these problems aims at managing expectations, faster adjustment, and overall higher well-being.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Barsbai, Toman et al. 2019. "Pre-departure Interventions for Migrant Domestic Workers." AEA RCT Registry. February 15. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3837-1.0.
Former Citation
Barsbai, Toman et al. 2019. "Pre-departure Interventions for Migrant Domestic Workers." AEA RCT Registry. February 15. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3837/history/41598.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Gift and photo intervention

At the end of the baseline interview, domestic workers assigned to this intervention are given a pack of dried mangoes (a specialty in the Philippines) and are encouraged to give them as a small introductory gift to their employer’s family. They are also encouraged to show a family photo (including the domestic worker) to signal to the employer’s family that the DW is a human being with a family and a personal background too. This intervention also signals the DW’s good intentions for the relationship with the employer. Specific instructions provide guidance for avoiding cross-cultural misunderstandings (e.g., by showing a picture where family members are dressed too lightly).

The intervention is motivated by the observation that many former domestic workers report that they are treated very poorly by members of the employer’s household and that they are not respected as human beings. The intervention aims to affect the relationship between DW and the employer by changing the starting situation and thereby creating a different trajectory of the relationship. In particular, the intervention aims at portraying DWs as human beings with a family and friends in the Philippines.

Experience sharing

Experienced domestic workers share their experiences, problems faced, ways of coping with problems, etc. The information in the experience sharing intervention is grouped around 3 themes: work experiences (including hours worked, specific concerns such as the large size of houses to be cleaned and number of family members served, hours of rest/sleep etc.), relationships with the employer (including cross-cultural communications, salary issues, food issues, etc.) and relationship with the families left behind. This first-hand experience sharing is meant to increase the credibility of the content. This intervention tries to manage expectations regarding what the DWs will face when they actually work abroad and provide them with strategies to cope with potential problems.

Savings module

The new savings module to be evaluated is comprehensive and focuses only on a few messages. In terms of content, the module offers direct guidance on a) prioritizing and distinguishing between expenditures that are needs and those that are merely wants, b) creating a joint financial plan with their family prior to departure, including the amount and use of remittances, c) an exercise in making a budget with a template showing how much money should be saved to reach a specific savings goal after two years, d) the importance of keeping some savings in a bank directly under the control of the DW. The pedagogy is interactive, e.g. using role-play to illustrate how to deal with financial requests from relatives and neighbors, and asking DWs who have already had experience working abroad to share the financial results of their time abroad and lessons learned. A short comics-style handout that DWs can bring with them to use as a reminder is also provided.

Savings reminder

Regularly sent text messages encouraging migrants to save the targeted share of their income. Due to logistical challenges of updating cellphone numbers, this intervention is carried out only for a small subsample.
Intervention Start Date
2014-05-26
Intervention End Date
2014-08-15
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Gift and photo intervention: treatment of domestic workers by the employer, subjective wellbeing
Experience sharing: Managing expectations regarding conditions abroad leads to faster adjustment, better work performance, higher employer satisfaction, better treatment, higher sense of wellbeing
Savings module: increase in savings, involvement of the family in financial planning
Savings reminder: increase in savings
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
see analysis plan
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Baseline interviews are conducted immediately before a mandatory pre-departure training for domestic workers. The training usually takes place a few weeks before departure. The assignment of the gift and photo intervention takes place during the baseline interview. The intervention is randomly assigned with 50% probability at the individual level and the randomization is independent of the randomization at the group level.

Group-level interventions (savings module and experience sharing) are randomized at the classroom level. Any class is either assigned to none or any of the two group-level interventions. No class is assigned to both.

Savings reminders are randomly assigned at a later point in time for the subsample for which a cellphone number is available.
Experimental Design Details
see analysis plan
Randomization Method
Randomization is done beforehand using a Stata algorithm based on available registration lists.
Randomization Unit
The gift and photo intervention is randomized at the individual level. A savings module and experience sharing by former domestic workers were randomized at the classroom level. Savings reminders are randomly assigned at the individual level at a later point in time for the subsample for which a cellphone number is available.
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
210 classrooms
Sample size: planned number of observations
2000 migrant domestic workers (1200 going to KSA, 800 going to Hong Kong)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Gift and photo 1000 individuals assigned to treatment, 1000 assigned to control
Experience sharing and savings module: 55 classrooms assigned to the savings module, 27 assigned to experience sharing (KSA only), 128 assigned to control
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
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers