Cash for Work, Behavioral Nudges, and Productive Activities

Last registered on February 25, 2019


Trial Information

General Information

Cash for Work, Behavioral Nudges, and Productive Activities
Initial registration date
February 25, 2019

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
February 25, 2019, 10:05 PM EST

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



Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
This study, conducted by the Government of the Madagascar’s Ministry of Social Protection and the Promotion of Women with the support of the World Bank’s Africa Gender Innovation Lab (GIL), will evaluate the impact of Madagascar’s new Productive Safety Net Program (Argent Contre Travail Productif – ACT-P) and two additions to this program: the use of productive spaces and behavioral “nudges” – as drivers of entrepreneurship and self-employment as drivers of productivity. This impact evaluation (IE) will assess the impact of ACT-P on communities’ productive assets through water-and soil management, terracing, reforestation etc. In addition, it will assess the impact of cash transfer on agricultural productivity, livelihoods and welfare of the household.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Assefa, Tigist and Muthoni Ngatia. 2019. "Cash for Work, Behavioral Nudges, and Productive Activities." AEA RCT Registry. February 25.
Former Citation
Assefa, Tigist and Muthoni Ngatia. 2019. "Cash for Work, Behavioral Nudges, and Productive Activities." AEA RCT Registry. February 25.
Experimental Details


To make substantial improvements to their livelihoods—whether through material investment, accumulation of assets, or insurance against risk—Cash for Work beneficiaries must be able to put aside some of their transfer funds for future use. However, a number of contextual factors make this decision, and the action needed to carry it out, difficult. First, they must set some kind of goal for how much to set aside, and decide on a method (such as a safe place for storing funds) for doing so. The program gives them little basis for setting money aside, as they are paid weekly and never actually encounter the full amount of money they stand to earn over the full 80 day period of employment.

The impact evaluation tests two interventions:
i) Village Savings and Loan Associations:
ii) Behavioral Nudges:
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
consumption, diet, food security, nutrition, productive and household asset accumulation, labor force participation, and agricultural productivity.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Assets: We are interested in four types of assets: moveable assets, savings, housing, and land. Amongst moveable assets we will examine the total number of livestock and farming assets. We will examine the amount of current savings of the households. We will also examine the ownership and quality of housing stock (e.g. building materials of walls, roof and floor) as well as the availability of electricity and sanitation facilities.

Consumption: We will examine impacts on food consumption as well as food and non-food expenditures. Specifically, food consumption measured as self-reported market value of self-produced food, as well as food purchased from the market in the 7 days before the survey data are collected. Non-food expenditures include transport, leisure, communication, personal care goods, school fees, household expenses (e.g. clothing and utensils), and social expenditures (e.g. baptism, funerals, donations and festivals).

Nutrition and Food Security: Here we will analyze the self-reported number of meals consumed by adults and children in the household. We will also look at the incidence of non-availability of any food in the household, the necessity to borrow food from friends and relatives and the need to reduce the number of meals eaten in a day and a measure of dietary diversity.

Agricultural outcomes: We are interested in total production per hectare, total expenditures on inputs and seeds and the number of crops cultivated.

Household income: We will examine variables related to household income from self-employment, own business, livestock sale, agricultural products sale, and other sources. We want to explore the different income sources of the household and the amount received.

Coping with shocks: We will examine if the household experiences at least one type of shock in the last 12 months and which type of shock. Within the possible shocks we include: drought, flood, death of a family member, and asset theft, loss or damage. We will also assess resilience from the shock.

Women’s outcomes & family wellbeing: Within this section we are interested in studying the following categories: happiness, economic satisfaction, and decision-making power.
We will also analyze the education of children 5 years and above. For this, we measure the school attendance of any/all children in current school year.

Aspirations: We will examine parent’s aspiration for their daughters and sons and assess if there is any difference between boys and girls. For this, we see aspiration on final educational level, future occupation and the desired age of marriage.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design

A mixed methods approach was selected for the evaluation.

At the first level, 4 comparison regions were selected, chosen to be as similar as possible to the study regions. Within the 4 comparison regions, respondents were selected using the same community-based targeting technique as was used in the program regions.

At the second level, within the 4 study regions, the sample was randomized into three groups at the level of the payment site which is the level at which interventions were delivered. One group got just the cash for work program, the second group received cash for work plus behavioral nudges, the third group received cash for work and training and support on creating savings groups.

A difference-in-difference allows us to identify the overall effect of the ACT-P program on beneficiary households inside eligible villages since the treated households and non-treated households will be in different villages.

Since Training and Nudges were randomly assigned to working groups, this allows us to examine the impacts of ACT-P when it is complemented with training and behavioural nudges.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
office by a computer
Randomization Unit
payment site
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
104 clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1000 households : ACT-P
1000 households: ACT-P + nudges
1000 households ACT-P + VSLA
2000 control households
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information


Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials