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Education, Work and Peace - promoting opportunities for young adults in Colombia
Last registered on February 10, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Education, Work and Peace - promoting opportunities for young adults in Colombia
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003869
Initial registration date
February 08, 2019
Last updated
February 10, 2019 7:48 PM EST
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of Lausanne
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2018-12-01
End date
2021-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The proposed study aims to evaluate the impact of the project on vocational education, psychosocial support, soft skills training, and labor market placement for vulnerable youth (including displaced youth) in the districts of Bosa and the municipality of Soacha in Colombia. The project is implemented by the Swiss NGO Vivamos Mejor and its local partner Fundación Apoyar.
In low and medium income countries, poor households tend to have a "portfolio of work" rather than a "job" (Blattman and Ralston, 2015). In these context, increasing incomes is not about creating jobs but improving skillsets to raise the quality of work portfolios (Blattman and Ralston, 2015). There is some evidence on the effectiveness of vocational training programs – programs that develop technical skills with the aim of integrating trainees in decent working conditions in the long term (Beerli et al., 2017) – in reducing youth unemployment in Latin America, but the results are not conclusive (Attanasio et al. 2011, 2017; Angrist et al., 2002, 2006; Card et al., 2011). It is perhaps not only hard skills, but also soft, "life" skills, which are lacking, and some initial evidence suggests that complementing vocational education with additional treatments is indeed more effective in obtaining results (see e.g. Bandiera et al., 2018). As far as we know, there are no studies that directly measure the impact of complementing vocational education with "life skills" training. Our study can clarify if, and to what extent, programs with complementary treatments are more effective than programs with only vocational education.
The proposed randomized control trial is composed of 300 vulnerable young adults who will be randomly sorted via lottery into three groups: a control group, a treatment group receiving vocational education (Treatment 1), and a treatment group receiving vocational education, psychosocial support and citizen empowerment training - our life skills training component (Treatment 2). Each group will be composed of 100 young adults.
We expect to find that participants with vocational education and soft skills training are better able to find a job in the formal labor market, making at least the minimum salary (which is more than they would have made in the informal labor market), and receiving social and health security benefits.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Antunes, Alice. 2019. "Education, Work and Peace - promoting opportunities for young adults in Colombia." AEA RCT Registry. February 10. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3869-1.0.
Former Citation
Antunes, Alice. 2019. "Education, Work and Peace - promoting opportunities for young adults in Colombia." AEA RCT Registry. February 10. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3869/history/41278.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The proposed randomized control trial is composed of 300 vulnerable young adults randomly sorted via lottery into three groups: a control group, a treatment group receiving vocational education (Treatment 1), and a treatment group receiving vocational education, psychosocial support and citizen empowerment training - our life skills training component (Treatment 2). Each group will be composed of 100 young adults. Training will take one year, administered by a nationally accredited institution. During that year, participants in Treatment 1 also receive soft skills training in the form of: (1) psychosocial support, whereby realistic life plans are developed, traumas are identified and approached by the in-house psychologist, and parents are sensitized on the importance of formal labor market education; (2) labor market placement, where a partner agency works on the employability skills of the participants, such as preparing a good application and job interview skills; (3) strengthening a culture of peace by promoting a set behaviors to overcome internalized violence paradigms instilled by the long internal conflict of the country. Training is offered in human resources, logistics, and administration.
Intervention Start Date
2019-02-11
Intervention End Date
2019-12-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our main outcomes of interest fall into three categories: labor market outcomes, soft skills (risk attitudes, trauma, behavior, vulnerability), and technical competency.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
1) Labor market outcomes: monthly earnings (in the formal and informal sectors), hours worked (in the formal and informal sectors), and whether the individual has a job in the formal sector, quality of life (health/retirement benefits, measured through PILA and SISBEN), and SISBEN index. We will use survey results, combined with administrative data (more specifically, from PILA and SISBEN) to observe these results.
2) Attitudes towards risk (as measured by the Global Preferences Survey created by Falk et al. (2018, 2016)),
3) Trauma (as measured by the the PTSD CheckList – Civilian Version (PCL-C))
4) Behavior (measured through a survey adapted from Blattman et al. (2017)) including: impulsiveness, conscientiousness, tenacity, and reward responsiveness; self-confidence, substance abuse, quality of social networks; and anti-social behavior (including violence), and
5) The results of the Wartegg test, which measures self-confidence, relationships, perseverance self-control, dynamism and proactivity, rationality, sensitivity and approaching others, and social behavior.
6) Vulnerability: Wartegg test, PCL-C, SISBEN index
7) Technical competency: school grades.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The proposed randomized control trial is composed of 300 vulnerable young adults, who will be randomly sorted via lottery during December 2018 and January 2019 into three groups: a control group, a treatment group receiving vocational education (Treatment 1), and a treatment group receiving vocational education, psychosocial support and citizen empowerment training - our life skills training component (Treatment 2). Each group will be composed of 100 young adults.
We will undertake three overall data collections: a baseline data collection consisting of the details provided under “outcomes” above - prior to the training at the beginning of 2019, a mid-line survey upon completion of training after one year (end of 2019, beginning of 2020), and a final data collection in November 2021 to estimate mid-term effects of the program. Thus, the study will compare both the two treatment groups, and the two treatment groups separately to the control group.
During the baseline data collection, participants take part in four surveys:
- The sign-up survey collects details on wages, hours worked, formal and informal employment, administrative details, and the Wartegg test results;
- The psychological interview conducted by the in-house therapist collects information on life expectations, family situation and support, and a subjective evaluation of participants’ leadership style, conflict resolution style, interpersonal relationships, verbal fluidity, self-confidence and presentation;
- The household visit collects information on the infrastructure of the household, and details on family members (how many, income levels, and so on).
- The randomization survey consists in the Global Preferences Survey, the PCL-C, and an adaptation of Blattman et al (2017)’s survey
There will be a selection process to reduce attrition. This includes: study of submitted CV’s; conducting personal interviews and family visits; processing of a Wartegg test. While we understand that this limits the external validity of our experiment, this is a necessary step given the extreme vulnerability of our target population. The criteria for entering the program include: living in Bosa or Soacha; classified as vulnerable according to SISBEN (Index 1 or 2); not being able to finance a professional education by own means; demonstrated motivation and abilities to study one year; demonstrated family support.

Because the data is sensitive, we are keeping data mapping individuals to their administrative data separate from the main database. Individuals will be given random codenames, which will be their unique identifiers in the main database.

Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization will take place during December 2018 and January 2019 via open lottery. Fundación Apoyar, the implementing partner, is running the randomizations stratified by location (Bosa and Soacha) and by career training offered (human resources, sales, logistics). Randomization is by public lottery where participants take turns drawing a colored tennis ball corresponding to their treatment group (control, treatment 1, treatment 2).
Randomization Unit
Individual participants
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
0
Sample size: planned number of observations
300 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
100 individuals in each treatment group and control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
With a control mean of $112.433, using our sample size for the control group (100), and a standard deviation of $187.79, the MDE is $74.7664 (in terms of changes in earnings from vocational education).
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Le Comité Ethique d’HEC Lausanne
IRB Approval Date
2018-11-27
IRB Approval Number
N/A